*I wrote this a couple weeks ago, but never hit publish. Our anniversary was 6/24.

Let’s say for a moment that there was a terrible accident on the freeway between Provo and Salt Lake. The hypothetical accident is so bad that the freeway is actually shut down for a period in the morning. Naturally, this would be a nightmare for people traveling. Say you were expected somewhere that morning, like oh, I don’t know, the Salt Lake Temple. And let’s get even crazier and say that you’re a bride who was supposed to be getting married that morning, and now you’re incredibly late. That would potentially be pretty stressful for your husband, who might be sitting there anxiously, wondering if he had been left at the altar. I mean, it would be pretty funny, right?

Ten years ago yesterday, I was that husband, a nervous wreck waiting for Katie to arrive. I finally got a phone call letting me know that they were trying to find another way to get up to Salt Lake. Eventually, instead of arriving 90 minutes before the ceremony, as the bride is told, she arrived ten minutes before our scheduled time. Fortunately, Katie was not at all a high-maintenance bride, so she just got her dress on and everything went forward mostly on time.

It’s interesting to think about how much has changed in the last ten years. Four different homes, the arrival of three kids, a bunch of job changes, illnesses, and a lot of fun times. But the thing that helps me deal with uncertainties is knowing that she’s always there to rejoice—and even suffer—right by my side. Happy anniversary, Katie. Let's see where this crazy ride takes us in the years to come.

A Flood of Evidence

Okay, I tried telling this to a few people, but nobody really cared. So I'm using my blog to talk about it. Caveat qui legit.

First of all, the subject of the Flood has always fascinated me. Where did all the water come from? How many animals were on the ark, and how did eight people clean up after all of them?
Well, I don't know about the poop scooping, but we might be a little closer to answering the first question.

I had a geology teacher at BYU who was LDS and accepted the Flood as a historical event. But he didn't think that the whole Earth was covered at once. Personally, I've felt that it was all covered, but wondered at the mechanism. I think God is the master scientist and created the laws of the universe, and obeys those laws, even though we don't yet have a full understanding. (And if you think mankind understands everything about the natural world, try googling "grand unified theory." That's why I've never had a problem reconciling science and religion.

So, here's the biblical verse describing where the water came from:

And today I came across this article:
I don't always take the verbiage of the Bible to be literal, but this is a fascinating idea. In the end our faith shouldn't be dependent on physical evidence, but that evidence can strengthen our belief. So it's fun to think about.

Bit O Crummy

For years a question has been lingering at the back of my mind, periodically brought to the surface when I see a particular object. This is a food product—a candy, in fact—first made available in 1924. Since it’s been on the market for 90 years, I imagine that it must be well-liked, and yet the very thought of eating one has never crossed my mind.

What is this candy? Bit-O-Honey.

My impression of this candy is that it’s something like a rock with harder rocks embedded in it. Or alternatively, that it would be like eating nuts and gum.

But maybe there’s a reason it’s been around so long. Aside from the maker obviously forging a deal with the Devil, I mean. So, in the interest of gastronomic fairness, I think it’s time I give one a try.

Okay, let’s open the wrapper and have a look.

Yup, that’s what I remember. The color seems to be exactly that of baby diarrhea I remember an infant cousin having once when my mom babysat her. And inside are hints of some sort of chunks that are surely even less pleasant.

Well, no sense in putting this off even longer. It’s time to take a bite.

Hmm. It’s not as hard as I imagined it would be. The flavor is mildly pleasant, and the alleged nuts are less overt than I expected, although they become more noticeable the longer I chew.

Okay, let’s finish this thing off.

Well, in a way it’s disappointing that it was less disappointing than I expected. Overall I rate the experience as "meh."But my stomach did feel a little weird a few minutes later, so perhaps my wariness was justified. I guess in the end I’ll take it over green apple skittles, but that’s a bitter, bitter story for another day.

Putting Your Hand and Foot in Your Mouth?

A couple weeks ago Sam came down with a fever. (Wait, shouldn’t it be “came up” with a fever?) We assumed he had a cold coming on, so we tried to continue with life as usual. But a couple days later he woke up covered with what looked like hives. Then, from the dim recesses of my brain, an old file was dragged up.


It was 2008 or 2009, and I noticed a few odd little sores on my hands and feet. I did some research and found that it was hand, foot and mouth disease, which is an unpleasant but relatively harmless viral infection that normally affects children. It went away after a few days.

*Flash forward*

I looked it up again, and it seemed pretty certain that this was the culprit. But with a newborn in the house, I decided to take Sam to the doctor, who confirmed that this was the case, and that this disease was going around. There was nothing to do but treat the discomfort, and he assured me that it would get worse before it got better. Sam also had to be kept from school, so he would miss the last week.

For the next couple days it got worse, until the poor boy looked like he had leprosy. We kept him away from Clara as much as possible, but soon Allison developed a fever as well. Fortunately, however, she ended up with relatively few sores, and they both got better at about the same time. 

Then one day we noticed some tiny spots on Clara’s feet, and braced ourselves for the worst (the worst case being the development of sores in the mouth that keep children from wanting to eat, resulting in dehydration). At the same time, Katie developed sores. Clara’s never got any worse, fortunately, but Katie ended up having a worse case like Sam.

Everyone is getting over it now, but it’s been a strange couple of weeks. I never got it, having had it a few years before. That didn’t stop my coworkers from treating me as though I were carrying the plague, which did have its advantages. “Oops, I touched all these donuts. Guess nobody else will want them now…”

The Kids Are There Alright

Sitcoms are funny.

What? That's what they're for? Sure, smart guy/gal, but I'm not talking about anything intentional. What I mean is the way they portray children.

Children in a lot of TV shows only exist to move the plot forward on occasion. Babies and toddlers in particular very very little screen time. Otherwise they're always mysteriously sleeping, in the crib, or just not mentioned at all. Meanwhile, the adult characters are free to have whatever adventures they would have even with no children in the picture.

This to me is the most unreal aspect of entertainment. It's not the giant monsters in movies or the impossibly good-looking people who abound. It's perfectly obedient children. We're all about gritty realism these days, so why doesn't anybody have to change a diaper blowout in the middle of a terrorist attack?

As in, "You had to Clara out her lungs"

Now that the dust has settled a bit, and before the memories are lost in a haze of sleepless nights, it’s time to walk you all through the birth of our latest child.

Blue Steel

On Wednesday, May 14, Katie went to pick up Sam from cub scouts, and stopped by a neighbor’s house for a minute. While on her porch talking, Katie noticed that her pants seemed to be getting wet. She came back home and reported that she had felt her first contraction. She didn’t want to have another false alarm, but I insisted we call my parents, send the kids to our friends’ house to wait for grandma and grandpa, and get to the hospital immediately.

We got in the car within ten minutes or so, and by the time we were on our way the contractions were about 2 ½ minutes apart. We got into the hospital and up to the delivery unit, and by the time they got an epidural going she was close to being completely dilated. Then we finally got her to the delivery room and waited a bit for the doctor. The epidural was more effective this time in that it duller her pain but she could still feel when the contractions were coming, making the pushing a little better (relatively speaking, of course). I think she only ended up pushing for about half an hour.

Clara Ann Hiller was born at 11:18 p.m. She was 8 lbs. 3 oz. and 19.5 inches. She had gotten a little mecomium in her lungs (which is a nice way of saying she pooped and inhaled a bit during the birth process), so they put her on a CPAP machine for a little while (it made her look like Bane), but then everything was fine.

When your lungs are cleared out, then you have my permission to breathe.

As the largest of our babies, Clara has seemed bigger and stronger than her siblings were. She seems pretty mobile, and eats pretty well. Being better fed, she has also turned out to be a vastly better sleeper than the other kids were. For several nights in a row now she has slept for about 8 hours in a row, and if that doesn’t start until 12 or 1 it’s still pretty darn amazing. Let’s hope I’m not jinxing anything by mentioning it here.

I could get used to this sleeping thing
New toy!
Just chillin with my mommy

Family Time

Unsurprisingly to anyone who has given birth, or had a spouse who has given birth, or has watched a show about people giving birth, or heard about someone giving birth, it’s pretty danged stressful for everyone involved. And one of the most stressful parts can be knowing when to go to the hospital. If you go too soon, they send you home. If you go too late, you end up with a baby named Backseat or Parking Lot.

Baby #1
Katie and I went to the hospital as soon as she started having contractions. It was a lovely, scenic drive from Provo to Payson, with me not at all being a wreck while trying not to cause one. Once there, they told us to turn around and go home because she wasn’t far enough along. Well, her body didn’t have a nice, gradual increase in frequency of contractions. She basically went from 0 to 60 very quickly, and by the time we got back to the hospital she was ready to go. They did manage to get an epidural going, but I guess they had to dose her more than normal for it to have any effect, and it was the better part of a day after Sam was born before she could move her legs.

Baby #2
This time we wanted to be a little smarter, so as soon as the contractions started we called my parents to come watch Sam while we went. In the end we had to have our friend/landlord there to cover the gap, because once again her body went into overdrive. Allison was born 15 minutes after we got to the hospital. No epidural.

Baby #3
Last Friday Katie felt a couple weak contractions, so rather than tempt fate again we woke the kids up and headed straight for the hospital. We figured my parents could come pick them up from there. But in the end nothing happened. It’s the first time she had gotten and false signals, so it was frustrating to be all ready for once and have it not happen. I guess fate likes to keep us on our toes.

To be continued…