Way to Go, Idaho!

Well, we moved to Idaho Falls about ten months ago. And while people outside the Rocky Mountain states probably see Idaho and Utah as virtually identical (and it's certainly an easier transition than most interstate moves would be), there are some differences. So here, in no particular order, are my impressions of our new state compared to Utah.

  • Most of the time it's 5 to 10 degrees colder here. Which is really nice in the summer. In the winter the roads seem to just be covered with ice perpetually. Any fear I ever had about driving in snow and ice is long gone.
  • Since I've spent most of my life living in Utah, where anything harder than beer is confined to liquor stores, it was just a little odd to see aisles of wine at Walmart. But I got used to it quickly.
  • Service people seem much nicer here. From cashiers at Walmart to servers at restaurants, almost everyone has been friendly. The one exception is our local post office, where the people have kind of had an attitude.
  • A lot of people here just look a little more weathered. I can't think of a better way to describe it. There's just a larger proportion of the population that kind of looks like they've had a hard life.
  • This is one that genuinely frustrates me. So many people just let their dogs run around free without any attempt to keep them in their yard. I have been approached by so many barking, aggressive-looking dogs while out running that I have started planning my routes to avoid as many as possible. I am going to get some dog mace and maybe a self-defense baton.
  • I like the small-town feel. You can get anywhere in town within 20 minutes.
  • There are a few businesses I miss from Utah, but not too many. There's no really good Chinese food around, and the only decent movie theater doesn't do reserved seating. But most stores I like are here.

There's some good and some bad, but overall I am happy we made the decision to move. Homes are so much more affordable here, I like my job, and we have a great ward. I hope this is the last move for a long time.

Training for Parenthood

I've had several friends and family members recently become parents, and it has made me think back to when I became a father 11 years ago. At least, I'm pretty sure that's right; I don't remember so well anymore.

Anyway, there are a lot of things in life that we train for, from job interviews to athletic competitions. But we don't necessarily train for parenthood. Why not? Many parents would say it's the most important part of their lives. I know I didn't really feel prepared. So, in the interest of helping those who are considering parenthood (or have less than nine months to prepare), here is my 4-week program designed to get you into parenting shape.

Week 1

Sunday: Stay up all night.

Monday: Wake up for 30 minutes each time at 2 AM, 4 AM, and 6 AM

Tuesday: Carry a bowling ball in the crook of your arm for 3 hours.

Wednesday: Make 4 different meals for dinner.

Thursday: Clean your toilet with nothing but baby wipes.

Friday: Sleep in a chair all night.

Saturday: Yell for an hour, cry for an hour, then laugh for an hour.

Week 2

Sunday: Wake up at 2:37 and stay up until 10:15.

Monday: Chew your food and spit it out onto your clothing.

Tuesday: Go to the store unwashed and in your pajamas for one item.

Wednesday: Make one of your favorite meals and then throw it away.

Thursday: Don't shower.

Friday: Don't shower.

Saturday: Shower, but with the door open.

Week 3

Sunday: Place a 20-pound weight on the floor. Lift it up 8 times per hour for 16 hours. Bend from the waist.

Monday: Play a 100-decibel siren sound for 10 minutes at a time, 8 times during the day.

Tuesday: Watch an animated film repeatedly for 24 hours straight.

Wednesday: Pick a cherished keepsake and smash it on the floor.

Thursday: Drop a carton of eggs on the floor.

Friday: Be 20 minutes late anywhere you go.

Saturday: Dirty every dish in the house.

Week 4

Sunday: Draw all over your walls with permanent marker.

Monday: Sleep for 2 hours.

Tuesday: Sleep for 4 hours, stay up for 2 hours, then sleep for 15 minutes.

Wednesday: Look up symptoms of illness on the Internet for two hours. Do this at 1 AM.

Thursday: Blow your nose on your shoulder.

Friday: Drop a bowl of spaghetti on the floor.

Saturday: Sleep on the floor.

There you have it! You are all ready for parenthood.


This is Cyclone.

Well, she's Clara. But while we have tried to give our other kids nicknames, this is the first one to really stick. And boy, is it apt.

I'm not sure if we were just lucky with Sam and Allison, but they didn't do a lot of the stereotypical kid things like drawing on themselves, taking off their clothes, and making messes just for fun. But Cyclone does all that, in addition to chasing the cats around and occasionally stepping on her baby brother.

On the flip side, she is exceptionally sweet. She won't stop kissing James, is always excited to greet me when I come home from work, and approaches everything with remarkable enthusiasm. She simultaneously makes me feel older and younger. I can't imagine life without our sweet little terror.