Wednesday, December 31, 2008


And by "everyone" I mean all three of you that might read this within the next week or two. One of my/our (hopefully, I speak for Tim on this) resolutions for the new year is to revive this blog that is in desperate need of a defibrillator. So I hereby promise to have something substantial posted within the week (and very possibly by tomorrow)!

I'm looking forward to 2009, I think it's going to be another exciting year for us!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

P In A Tent (also titled: Happy Pioneer Day!)

As promised in our last post, we’re traveling backwards in time. Tim has the ability to go back in time - in fact, let’s clear up a common misperception: Superman got the idea from him. As the mercury in Vegas approached the 110s, we were itching to get out of the valley and break in our new tent. We spent a few days considering our options and checking in with to see what would give us the most relief. The debate came down to Big Bear, CA or Zion National Park, UT. Big Bear would have been cooler but given that it was almost the 24th, we honored the pioneers and trekked to Zion. This pioneer child refuses to walk, but loves to sing. Of course it was only June, but it can be hard to remember, living outside of Utah. The weather was forecasting highs in the lower 90s so as crazy as it might seem, it was enough to sound refreshing.

Zion has two camping options in the park. Campground 1 accepts reservations and usually fills up early since some people have the ability to schedule more than 3 hours in advance. Pure insanity. Needless to say, we missed the handcart on that plan. Campground 2 is right next to Campground 1 but is first come, first serve. (During the summer, policy should be first come, soft serve.) Leaving after work on Friday and getting to Zion before dark, much less finding a camping spot, wasn’t an option. So we got everything packed up, and hit the road first thing Saturday morning. At least as first thing as we will ever achieve, which this time was about 8:30 a.m. and downright impressive.

We rolled into the Park around 11:30 a.m. and were sweating bullets that we might not get a campsite. For the record, anybody that was hoping to get into one of the National Parks by tricking the rangers with your REI membership card opposed to the $80 park pass, it’s worth a try, but we think that they’ve taken training for this very thing. Very sharp. We eventually found the right card amongst all of Tim’s lunchtime punch cards and they let us in.

The experience of finding a campsite was similar to any news footage that we’ve seen from the neighborhood Walmart the day after Thanksgiving with the large white trash Americans being replaced by large white RV’s. After a few awkward “I don’t think we’re speaking the same language” standoffs, we finally managed to find a site that would meet our 24-hour needs. After setting up the tent and Paisley’s new Pack ‘n Play, it was lunchtime.

It was at about this time that we realized that those sweated bullets probably didn’t have anything to do with campsite anxiety. It was hot. High 90s hot and climbing. On the drive up, Paisley had taken full advantage of her back seat DVD player and her favorite movie, A Bug’s Life, which meant that after lunch, she was ready for a nap. This is where the high temperatures really hurt us. It didn’t take long for the tent to leave an impression on us. Big wet impressions on our Thermarests so we moved Paisley and her Pack ‘n Play outside in the shade. Although in the shade, there was way too much stimulation for her to fall asleep.

In our bare bones packing, we had included a few thermoregulation items such as a little hand held battery powered fan and a spray bottle that we combined to make a rustic camp mister. Every time we sprayed Paisley the cool shock would cause her to make the cutest gasp followed by a huge smile. Brandi had also found this bandana for Paisley at REI that’s stuffed with a bunch of tiny gel packs that you soak in cold water and then tie around your neck, just like the pioneers. Once we accepted that these would only work so well, we decided to load up the car again and take a drive through the park in the comfort of AC and the sounds of adventurous ants. Paisley slept like a bug, but if you’re familiar with Zion, it’s not all that big. Especially since they only let you drive half of it these days. After about an hour loop through the tunnels and back, it wasn’t long before the three of us were sitting in an idling car stomping out a nice big carbon footprint in one of the most beautiful national parks in the world, for the price of a nap. And it was totally worth it.

The biggest revelation during the car ride was the thermostat reading on our dashboard. 104 degrees. So much for the forecast. Once Paisley woke up, we loaded her up in the backpack and took the 10-minute walk up to the weeping rock to take advantage of getting dripped on. Unfortunately, due to the shuttle system, it took 45 minutes to get there and another 45 to get back.

By the time we had made our way back to camp we were just in time for dinner. We had brought the camp classics: firewood, jalapeno brats, pasta salad and smores. It was really hard for us to justify building a fire when it was still so hot, so we threw the brats on the hood of the car for a few minutes. Really though, the fire and dogs weren’t ready until like 10 o’clock. Despite our hunger, it seemed earlier because Paisley refused to go to sleep. From inside the tent, she could see the flames from the fire and wouldn’t lie down. She ended up back in the car for another round of A Bug’s Life…you know, because she wants to be an entomologist. We’re pretty sure she gained a new appreciation for bugs and nature since with all the windows rolled down the TV screen was acting like a high tech bug zapper without the zap. A Bug’s Life in 3-D. Just as importantly, we finally gave all of our neighbors a chance to enjoy the outdoors as well with some well deserved silence.

Once the temps started to rise again the next morning, Brandi took Paisley into town to pick up some more ice for the cooler since we had plenty of extra food while Tim stayed back to pack up camp. Paisley took advantage of the opportunity and took a quick nap during the drive. Once we got the car all loaded up, we found a parking spot and took the shuttle back into the canyon to take another hike. This time we set our sites on Lower Emerald Pool. Having forgotten that the lower pool is nothing more than a puddle, we were well on our way to the Upper Pool before we realized our mistake. It was hot and we knew that Paisley was roasting considering the final stretch is pretty exposed. We eventually found the Upper Pond and took advantage of the cool water and shade. Paisley’s bandana probably saved her. She usually hates stuff around her neck and face but didn’t try to pull the bandana or her hat off once. The poor kid was so exhausted that she fell asleep face down in the carrier on the return hike. We had to wake her up at one point just to ensure that she was only sleeping.

We made our way back into the valley and after traversing the Virgin River to cool our feet off; we walked over to Zion Lodge and grabbed some lunch while one of the rangers taught us about rattlesnakes. We made our way back to the car and back to Vegas. Since we were too tired and full the night before to break open the smores, we decided to try an old trick Brandi had invented a few years earlier. Dashboard smores.The end product is different than normal smores because the marshmallow doesn’t really toast, but the chocolate totally melts. Funny, but not quite as funny as watching a certain someone trying to dig up a certain plant in front of a certain small town high school on the way home in an attempt to beautify our front yard.

Even though the weather turned out hotter than we expected, we had a fun first family campout and it seems like Paisley is a natural pioneer. And by our fermenting smells, maybe even a natural hippie. As the sun disappeared, Paisley fell asleep just before the mean bugs showed up again. We closed the weekend to the sound of bugs in the back seat and bugs hitting the windshield.

Friday, July 11, 2008

It's About...Time

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Paisley. Before her well-meaning parents were able to update their blog, she grew up and moved out of the house. Luckily, things haven’t gotten to that level yet, but we have really been negligent and are determined to redeem ourselves, again. The real tragedy is that in the time since our last post, we’ve taken some fun trips and Paisley has made some exciting accomplishments. After much deliberation, we’ve decided that the best strategy to catch up is to start in the present and work backwards.

Ready. Set. Fourth of July weekend. While on our last trip to Utah (we’ll get to that post eventually), we decided that the best way to celebrate Paisley’s first birthday was in Utah with family, friends and fireworks. Can you believe that she's almost 1 already? We can't either. We loaded up the car Thursday afternoon when Tim got off of work and headed north. We finally crawled into Salt Lake at 3 a.m. Friday morning and managed a few hours of sleep before Paisley arose with the sun. It was probably for the best since we had plenty of work to do before the pool party that afternoon.

The best news of the morning was confirmation that all of our efforts (20 lbs of dry ice) were enough to combat 112 degree temperatures and we managed to keep Paisley’s birthday cake frozen on the drive up. Even though Brandi had made a valiant effort over the week to make enough homemade ice cream for everyone, we ended up having to settle for a tub from the grocery store. We had the party at Grandma Sherry’s and cooked up some hamburgers and swam until our fingers and toes resembled raisins. Paisley just loves the water and had a blast floating around on her float (which is NOT a life saving device). But her favorite was when her mom took her down the pool slide. Squeals of delight. We almost even thought about getting it on camera. After drying off, it was time for presents. She’s one spoiled little girl. She’s still trying to grasp the whole concept of wrapping paper, but was fortunate to have two young friends that were eager to assist. I think next time presents are involved, we’ll just wrap stuff in our favorite magazines since she never has a problem tearing those up.

The birthday cake really was quite the ordeal. A couple people from work recommended a local decorator, so we made an appointment. Our appointment exceeded 90 minutes and not because we were being difficult. At least until they quoted the price. We agreed that designing our wedding cake was easier. The biggest challenge became when they told us that because we opted for the cream cheese filling, it needed to stay cold until serving. Thus the dry ice. When we picked it up, they threw in a little cake just for Paisley. We stuck a candle in it, put it in front of her and took cover from the sugar shrapnel. But the little princess took her time and dipped into the frosting one dainty finger at a time. The frosting eventually found its way all over her mouth, eye lashes, legs and mom just not at the blitzing first hyper rate we anticipated. Hopefully we don’t sound too disappointed.

Once we had finished with celebration #1, we loaded the car up again and drove to Oakley (where Brandi’s dad and step-mom live) for a rodeo rendezvous weekend. That’s right, we said rodeo. We pulled into Oakley just in time to catch the local firework show. Even though there isn’t any more snow on the ground in town, the high 60’s felt down right frosty.

We spent the next day hanging out with more family and when Paisley went down for her morning nap, we decided to leave her under the supervision of Grandma Lorrie while we headed over to the rodeo arena to check out something called a horse pull. The event likely qualifies as our second date since Paisley's arrival. A horse pull is exactly what it sounds like. A contest to see whose horses can pull the most weight. These horses were gigantic and the winning pair managed to pull 10,000 lbs. Very impressive. We headed back to the house, picked up Paisley and headed over to the Polar King for our third hamburger in four meals. Yum. Our lack of sleep seemed to be catching up with all three of us and we ended up all laying down for an hour or so before the night’s big event.

We forced dinner down Paisley's throat and skedaddled over to the arena. We timed it perfectly and got to our seats just as the announcer welcomed all of us good Americans to a good American activity. Paisley was so excited to experience her first rodeo she was in tears. The announcer combined with all of the sudden cheering must have startled her but like a true cowgirl, she quickly adjusted to her surroundings. Probably faster than her mom and dad. We’re probably self-conscious but it felt like everyone around us could smell the democrat on us. Our booing the rodeo clown’s Obama joke didn’t do us any favors.

If you’ve never been to a rodeo, you’ve got to try it. Especially the Oakley rodeo. That may come off as sarcastic, but it shouldn’t. It was really fun. We got to see AND use terms like bareback riding, tie down roping, saddle bronc riding, steer wrastlin’, team roping, barrel racing and the climax of the evening was of course, the bull riding. Paisley seemed to enjoy watching cowboys fall off of large snotty animals. So much so that she made us stuff her into her Halloween cow suit once the evening cooled off. We did manage to get it on, but couldn't snap the legs and the sleeves were probably closer to her elbows than her wrists. It probably just reminded her of a game she plays with her dad at home. After the last cowboy got tossed into next week, they turned all the lights off so that the night could finish off with a bang. Many bangs actually. Paisley doesn’t seem to hate fireworks.

We spent Sunday morning relaxing with the Hoggan’s and getting ready for the long trek back home. After a late departure and probably 4 more rounds of A Bug’s Life, we got home just after 10 p.m., late enough to watch the car temperature gage drop back to the double digits. All in all, it was a great trip and we were so glad that Paisley could be surrounded by family as she celebrated her first birthday. Thank you Grandma Sherry and Grandpa Don for hosting a fantastic pool party. Thank you Grandma Sue Ann for the great presents. And a huge thank you to Grandpa Randy and Grandma Lorrie for taking such good care of us, exposing us to rodeo and making the whole trip possible. Cowboy up and we’ll see you next year!

Happy First Birthday Paisley!

It was exactly one year ago that Baby Girl Ricks came into our world. Not the blog, but the little girl - and she would soon be the biggest joy in our lives. If you read this one day Paisley, please don't let there be any doubt in how much we love you. We are forever grateful for our poor choices in birth control. Just because we've neglected our blog doesn't mean that you aren't our first priority, in fact, that's probably why our writing has suffered.

In honor of Paisley's birthday we promise to post a lengthy update (with pictures) sometime today.

Friday, May 30, 2008


We've been trying to come up with a good way to keep Paisley corralled in a way that she doesn't feel deserted, but still allows Brandi a few moments in each day to focus on her own goals without having to watch where she steps. We thought that our best solution would be some type of Pack 'n Play that would be easy to move from room to room, so we were excited when we found something on sale at REI that we thought would serve our needs. Needless to say, we were a little surprised once we got it all set up.

It really did look smaller in the store. This is actually a result of out growing our little two man tent (which isn't to say that folks of our stature were ever cozy in the two man) and finding a replacement that will afford us room for 3 more little ones. Considering our ages and inability to pack light, it will most likely be 3 person, 6 bag tent. As much as we are looking forward to taking a little weekend trip to test it out, the idea of camping with a baby, who can make even fairly simple things like going to the grocery store a challenge, seems overwhelming. This really speaks well of our parents who managed to take a car full of kids camping several times a year. Maybe the effort was motivated by their strong appreciation for nature, but there's a chance that it may have also included the hope of "thinning the herd" a little.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

P' Standing Up

Paisley continues to grow and develop in ways that are just impossibly cute and at times, equally hilarious. After much anticipation, Paisley's 4 months of "teething" concluded a few weeks ago with the near simultaneous emergence of her two middle teeth on the bottom. She has since been a little squirrel with these things and chewing on whatever she can get her hands on. One of her books now looks like we're raising a puppy. One of the positives that has come from this though is her new appreciation for pacifiers.

Another recent accomplishment for Paisley has been the ability to stand up for significant periods of time without any support. She seems to have started to grasp the concept of balance and manages to improve her training session times on a daily basis. She hasn't managed to take any "official" steps just yet, but has been sneaking in a few stutter steps a few times before we catch her. We don't know if this new skill will directly lead to her running around the house in the next few weeks, but it has seemed to help her develop a few new dance moves, which alarmingly look awkwardly similar to a few of Tim's.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Cry Me A River

We realize it's now been almost a month since our last post, but we have plenty of good excuses.

1. We burnt out another hard drive. On our other computer. This one didn't have the extended warranty but Brandi is her own Genius Bar and replaced it herself. This really didn't affect our blogging too much but we did lose a couple of months worth of photos, which is sad. If you have an Apple, back your stuff up as soon as your computer is 3 years old!

2. We were all on our death beds for about 2 weeks. Brandi went down first and despite putting up a good fight, Tim and Paisley eventually succumbed. This was the first time since Tim has known Brandi that she got sick first. The colds were annoying in their own right, but they carried severe consequences: our dear sweet baby stopped sleeping through the night. After 8 months of at least 10 hours of solid nightly slumber, Paisley was so congested that she would continually wake herself up from snoring/not being able to breathe. These startling moments always ended up in screams for comfort and eventually it was easier to have Paisley take dad's spot in bed while he slept somewhere else.

3. We have all since recovered fully from our sicknesses and returned to our rightful sleeping assignments but Paisley just hasn't been able to break the habit of waking up at Godless hours and not being able to put herself back to sleep. This has been going on for weeks now and Tim and Brandi are edging ever closer to insanity. On average, Paisley wakes up at least twice a night but can reach four or five times and is always in hysterics. At first we would make the mistake of picking her up and attempt to rock her back to sleep (usually pretty easy) and attempt to put her back in her crib without waking her up again to prevent having to repeat the process (nearly impossible). It was like playing Operation in the dark at 3:30 a.m. with an even more aggravating buzzer. This is the main reasoning of our lack of posting as it has compounded our tendency toward procrastination. We're bordering zombification. We sincerely apologize and we promise to be back online soon - as soon as Paisley promises to give us a break. Until then, since we've been enduring a lot of crying and screaming lately we thought we'd post something that was written a long time ago that we just never got around to posting.

This is a topic that we've been meaning to write about for a few weeks now. Maybe opening up our most recent copy of The New Yorker was just the motivational push we needed. The article is about colic in babies. Since there's likely more than a few childless readers out there, we should explain, especially due to the fact that up until 6 months ago, Tim insisted that he had a colic in his hair.

Colic is one of those mysterious newborn issues that has apparently puzzled doctors and driven parents to the edge. Colic is generally defined as the rules of three: the child cries for at least three hours a day, three days a week, lasting for at least 3 weeks. It seems that most parents that we've talked to insist that their child had colic. The reason for this is the fact that there is something encoded in the throaty cries of a new child that leave a parent feeling completely helpless and frustrated. Here's a section out of the magazine article, "The sound of of a crying just about the most disturbing, demanding, shattering noise we can hear. The United States military has reportedly used the sound of wailing infants as an instrument of psychological stress, piping recordings of their cries into the cells of detainees at Guantanamo Bay." With his love of torture, you'd think that the Cheney's would have had plenty of lil' ones running around the Wyoming ranch. And to think we volunteer for this stuff. Well, WE didn't exactly volunteer.

Before we get too carried away with this article, we need to make it clear that Paisley is a wonderful little girl and neither of us are trying to argue that she suffers from colic. This we will say though, she suffers from crying. And as a result, we've suffered along with her. Brandi was blessed with the motherly instincts and is much more skilled at the calming process but even then, sometimes consolation comes slow. In the last two months, we have discovered several tricks that seem to help calm both the crier and caretaker. The irony is that by themselves, all of the below tend to be annoying beyond measure but measured against the wailing, it's an easy choice.

1. Dinner Sucks. We've pleasantly had plenty of dinners over the roar of the Hoover Windtunnel as the noise quiets her right up.

2. Driving Ms. Paisley. When Paisley gets sick of us flipping through the hits of yesterday and today we have a preset reserved exclusively to the purest frequency of the dial for static.

3. We've recently read this book called "The Happiest Baby on the Block" and one of the five calming techniques recommended is a very loud "SHHHH SHHHHHH SHHHHH SHHHHH." Sure this is a rather innate and universal symbol for librarians, but even with newborns who have yet to learn the finger to lips, this sound is pure biology.

4. Vidal VaVoom. Hair dryers are nice and portable and really pack a lot of decibels in such a small package. Kind of like babies. If you've seen Paisley after a good nap, it looks like she's taken a direct hit from the hair dryer but in reality it's just one of the impracticalities of newborns with hair. It can be challenging.

5. Baby shower. Brandi has realized that having a newborn makes some of life's luxuries, such as showering a few times a week, extremely challenging at times and therefore, requires some adjustment. The adjustments that work best seem to be parking Paisley in her car seat and setting her up in the middle of the bathroom floor with the combined sounds of the shower and the hum of the bathroom fan. On VERY good days, Paisley stays content long enough for the "Repeat."

6. Fan fans. Our favorite white noise machine is the small room fan that sits next to Paisley's crib that not only keeps her from overheating in her mini sack but also creates just enough buzz to keep her sleeping her 8 hour stretches at night.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Double Take: The Addendum

Sometimes life can be an emotional roller coaster. Turns out the joke was on us. After all of the drama from yesterday, the doctors office called Brandi this morning just to say April Fools. Are you serious? What sort of sick people would play such an elaborate joke and then let it ride out until the next day? Needless to say, we will no longer be scheduling ANY more appointments with this doctor on April 1. We apologize for any confusion yesterday's post may have caused.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Double Take

Brandi felt strongly that we shouldn't post this today since no one would take it seriously, but Tim felt that it might add some levity to a pretty heavy afternoon. Besides, his boss sometimes reads this and it would be helpful to be able to produce some justification as to why he never made it back to the office after lunch. And we were hoping for an uneventful year...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Paisley Makes the Elite 8 (months)

March has been a pretty busy month for us. Paisley took her first trip in an airplane, Brandi had her birthday, we hit the one year anniversary of being home owners, bought a new car, and celebrated Paisley turning 8 months old. In recognition of Paisley's latest achievement, we thought we'd highlight a few of her major accomplishments, some more recent than others.

1. Got her first haircut and first pig tails.
2. Learned how to say Mama.
3. Used rolling as a means of transportation.
4. Can get into sitting position from stomach.
5. Rocking back and forth while on her hands and knees, and now, crawling.
6. Wave.
7. Drink out of a bottle...again.
8. Using the toilet.
9. Can pull herself up to standing.

As an added bonus, we thought we'd throw in several of our favorite pictures of Paisley taken during the last month or so.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

He Is Risen

In an effort to teach Paisley the true meaning of Easter we decided to forgo all of the baskets, eggs and chocolate while instead implementing a little pagentry. This is what Paisley woke up to this morning:

Okay, so that's not really a true story. We've been sitting on this photo for a few months now and decided that today was the perfect day to release it to the public. After years of past sacrilegious impersonations of Jesus, Tim was actually approached by a real artist at the end of the year about the idea of posing as Jesus for a couple of shots for a series of paintings that she is working on. The artist attends our church and is rather talented. Her concept is to put together a series of five paintings depicting different life stages of Christ and his relationship with Mary, from infant to the resurrection. Tim stood in for carrying the cross to Golgotha and appearing to Mary in Gethsemane as a resurrected being. Brandi couldn't resist snapping a couple of pictures during the process for posterity. Tim was just excited to be able to add "Jesus Model" to his resume. Happy Easter everyone.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Armed & Dangerous

Paisley learns to crawl...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Princess and the Pee

This could end up being the crappiest post we ever come up with. Paisley is our little princess and like all royalty, she's had a natural affinity to the throne. This is all about bragging that our 8-month-old daughter is officially potty trained. Sort of.

Ever since Paisley transitioned from her all breast milk diet to veggies and rice cereal, her diapers have obviously followed suit. Almost immediately, her poops went from old mustard to deer scat. Poor girl. We're always offering her a bottle of water because the evidence makes one think that she's severely dehydrated. The expulsion effort has also increased significantly. We've coined the look as "poop face" and it could very well be the cutest, saddest face ever. It also leaves no doubt as to what's taking place.

Fast forward several weeks later when Brandi was giving Paisley a bath one night. Half way through the experience, Brandi caught glimpse of the face and in an effort to avert disaster and unwanted "rubber duckies" in the tub, scooped Paisley up and sat her on the toilet. Paisley took to it like a pro and pooped in the potty.

Ever since then, she's repeated the trick many times. Not that we're forcing potty training on our infant but given having watched the "poop face" over and over with nothing to show for it, sitting her on the toilet has seemed to help speed up the process. Not that Brandi wouldn't appreciate one more potty-trained member of the family. (Consequently, she's also hoping that Tim will pick up a few pointers in the meantime.) We usually sit her on the potty after meals and before bed and more times than not, she adds a couple p's to the ool. She's gotten so accustomed to her place on the thrown that even when she hasn't given us any squinty-eyed, red-faced indication of having to go, she still produces from both arenas. We've been working with her on a few dinner related baby sign language signals, so maybe if we can teach her the sign for potty we can eliminate the need for diapers all together. If she inherits nothing from us, Princess Paisley will always have her throne.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Brandi!

I'm sorry that you had to make the edible version yourself. May the rest of all of your wishes come true. Thanks for making mine. Here's to another marquee year. Oh wait, that probably isn't one of your wishes.

Friday, March 7, 2008

My Loneliness Is Killing Me

The problem with asking people what they would like for their birthday is that there is a high probability that they're going to tell you. And when that person is your wife, there are consequences for ignoring that advice. Brandi wanted to take Paisley and take a trip to Chicago to visit her sister and hang out with their family for a week. On Monday afternoon I kissed them goodbye and watched them fumble their way through airport security.

I have to be honest with you and admit that there was a part of me looking forward to a break from responsibility. What I wasn't prepared for was the boredom and feelings of...discombobulation. Borderline depression. You could have probably filmed one of the Cymbalta commercials with me, the cat and the turtle the other night. Despite being overly dramatic, I really don't consider myself to be needy. (Do you think I'm needy? Do you? Please! Anyone.) If anything, my life in the past has leaned towards the side of isolation and independence. I once had someone psychoanalyze my hobbies: reading-isolating, writing-isolating, riding my bike-isolating. I could add to it that most of the jobs I've had within my profession have removed me from civilization.

Then I got married. The kicker is that I've just sort of assumed that I've remained the same person, despite the many major life events that have occurred within those short 18 months. But I'm not the same person and I'm actually a little bit proud about it. I've missed my girls tremendously. It's hard to say that despite of this or because of this, it's been a frustrating week. One of those where even the simplest activity seems to malfunction topped off with the fact that I ruined my brand new phone while almost drowning in 1 1/2 feet of water and an unbelievable amount of mud in the middle of a pond in no where Nevada and having to drive the 2 hours back to Vegas soaking wet. All I really wanted to do was wrap up in a blanket with Brandi and decompress. It's a level of comfort and security that no "night with the guys" could ever mimic.

From the sounds of it Brandi has had a great trip and has really appreciated the time she and Paisley could spend with them. It's one of the more reluctant birthday gifts that I've ever given, but I'm starting to appreciate the gift that I've received in turn. I also like convincing myself that her REAL present is her coming home to me with the same renewed appreciation! Not that I feel unappreciated or anything.

The people closest to us are far too easy to take for granted. But it's also easy to take being needed by someone for granted. Maybe the loneliest part of being home by myself all week was that there wasn't any one there for me to take care of. The fine balance of any relationship is the middle of being needed and being needy. A line that I will be firmly standing on tonight when they step through airport security again tonight.

Happy Birthday, my love.

(For the record, Brandi's birthday is next Thursday, March 13. Feel free to send your wishes her way. Also, since she's out of town, this post is missing her incredible editorial skills and she would probably want me to disclaim the following: the opinions expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the normal publishing standards that you've come to expect from

Friday, February 29, 2008

Christmas Ketchup

This post is all about filling in some of the holes of our writers strike inspired sabbatical. We realize that the timing caused us to miss some major holiday posts and so we'll try and make it up to you here. We have about as much motivation to give you a full two month play-by-play as you do to read it.

The first major event was our decision to actually celebrate Christmas this year. Last year was pretty rough with the first trimester and all and we just didn't have the energy to jingle, don gay apparel, wassail or much of anything. This year was much more merry and bright, complete with Christmas tree, decorations and Santa. We ended up celebrating Christmas early here in Vegas so that we didn't have to recreate Santa's sleigh in the back of the car for both legs of the trip to Utah.

We made the pilgrimage to Salt Lake to share the holiday with friends and family. It was a great trip and we were able to connect with quite a few people that hadn't ever met Paisley. Tim is still building vacation time - and learning not to be the last one in the division to ask for time off - so we had to return to Vegas a few days after Christmas. A snow storm in central Utah kept us north for a day longer than planned. Paisley had an abundant Christmas and was pretty spoiled by her three Grandma Santas. Luckily, most of the presents came with off switches.

New Years Eve was fun and we had our friends come over for pizza and a competitive round of Cranium. The competition definitely took its toll and by 11:00 we called it a night. Once you have a kid, staying up past twelve becomes, staying up later than usual. Another successful celebration.

One of our family gifts to ourselves was a new camera lens (a sweet Canon 50mm f1.4) and have had a lot of fun playing around with it. Here are some of our favorite pictures from over the holidays.

our "official" family christmas photo
tim & paisley on our faux christmas morning

paisley loved santa

nate, tonia, jamie (holding p) & julie

tonia, julie, brandi (holding p),nate & jamie

christmas morning opening presents & eating wrapping paper

paisley chillin' with her aunt christine

paisley & cousin matthew

cousin natalee, grandma sherry & paisley