Meet James Hiller

Meet James.

I thought it might be interesting to do a post about each of my kids as a sort of snapshot that could be fun to look back at later. So I'm going in reverse order for some reason.

James was the kid we were expecting seven years earlier, when in fact Allison showed up. Katie had his name all picked out and everything. We always planned on this being our last child, and I thought sooner would be better before we got even older, so there's only 2 years between Clara and him (4-year gaps between the other kids).

James joined the family one hot summer evening at almost midnight. I decided to give him the middle name of Gideon, after my favorite person in the Book of Mormon. We had just moved to Idaho 4 months earlier, so we didn't have a lot of family around. But we usually keep to ourselves after having a baby anyway. I can take time off of work and do the cooking and more or less take care of things for a while as Katie recovers.

James has mostly followed the pattern established by our other kids. He started crawling quite late (around 10 months, I think) and had no teeth until he turned one. But he started walking a little sooner than the other kids, and started talking around his birthday. With 3 older siblings he seems impatient to do what they do. He's 14 months old now and says words including "cat," "mom, "dad," "water," "up there," and probably a few more I'm forgetting at the moment.

Where James stands out for us is his cheerful nature. None of our other kids was super colicky or anything, but he was probably the best baby in overall demeanor. Katie used to call him Guy Smiley. He's running around with the other kids playing chasing games, making animal noises, and generally being pretty adorable.

This is still my favorite photo of him.

I like this one too.

His personality is still coming along, but I think he's going to be a handful like Clara, who will be the next to get her own post. I'm glad you came to our family, buddy.

Odds and Ends

Taking a page from the Book of Jen, I've also got a lot of unfinished blog posts. Maybe none of them is individually enough for a whole post, but together they make something. Or nothing. Whatever. Here we go.



I don't have time for a lot of hobbies. I figure that once you have kids you place most of your focus on them, and just try to have maybe one thing for yourself. Most of the time I consider running as my single hobby. But there are a couple other things I enjoy that could be considered a hobby. And I just realized that I don't always have someone close to me who shares in my interests. But let's see what I discover as I write this.

Running: I started this hobby because of a friend who wanted to do a triathlon. In the end I just wanted to run. I didn't care about the cycling or swimming. I haven't kept in touch with him much the last few years, and he hadn't been running too much because of some injuries. I do have one other friend who runs that I can talk to about it.

Jazz basketball: I grew up watching the Jazz, and got especially into basketball during their Finals years, then lost interest for about a decade.

Sci-fi/fantasy reading

I'm really not sure where I was going with this, except maybe wanting to have "not having anything in common with people" in common with someone.



I feel like I've posted on this before, but I don't want to go search.

I think I tend to like the underdog in a lot of ways.

The Addams Family instead of The Munsters
Pepsi instead of Coke
Aerosmith instead of The Rolling Stones

Also, I was thinking of the ways we are all unique when you look at the statistical improbability of your exact self existing. You just multiply the frequency of some factors in your life. Here are mine.

Born in 1980. Out of 108 billion total humans estimated to have ever lived, the odds of being born that year were 0.07%. The odds of being born in the US further reduce that to .0028%.

Other odds
Being left-handed: 10%
Green eyes: 2%
A- blood type: 7%
LDS family: 0.9%

So if we just count those few factors, there are 0.7 people out of the 108 billion who have ever been born who meet those criteria. Round that up to 1, and that's me I guess.

I've always liked this idea. When you take everything that sums us up, even mathematically, we are pretty unique.


Fashion designers are the cause of everything that is wrong with the world.

Okay, hear me out.

Women's clothing doesn't have pockets, because for sexist reasons we feel they have to meet some kind of aesthetic standard.

Because women's clothing doesn't have pockets, there is no convenient way for them to

Carry things, I guess. Something about female powerlessness in society. I still hate what women's clothing does to them, and how it plays into the sexism still so rampant in the world.


I've often said that Halloween is my favorite holiday, because it's just about having fun. There's no reason to feel guilty about not keeping the true spirit (Ha!) of Halloween.

But now I officially have a least favorite holiday: July 4th.

In a way it's the ultimate American holiday. Not because it's literally THE American holiday, but because it embodies so much of the stereotypical character of Americans. We aren't known for subtlety or consideration of others. I'm okay with fireworks shows, and setting off my own fireworks for the kids, but what frustrates me is the way people set them off until 2 in the morning with no regard for anyone else.

Ha! Just look at the date there and you'll see the genesis of this post.


Almost every morning when I drive to work I see this older gentleman out running. He's tall but a little hunched over with age, with a little weight on him, but his large frame carries it well. He always has a look of intense concentration on his face. I

I haven't seen that guy for a while. But I get to work a little later now that I have to get the kids off to school. I imagine he's still getting out there. I was going to talk about how I love seeing people out exercising when they are heavy, or older, or otherwise afflicted in a way such that their effort means more than it does for the young and fit. It's inspirational.


Another number-themed title. As another birthday has passed, I suppose I should reflect on the year that has been. Moving from 36 to 37 isn't much of a psychological impact, so I don't really have much to say about that. It was also on a Sunday, which if you are LDS means you'll go to church and probably steer clear of most recreational activities. And as my birthday is early in the month, that means it was what we call fast Sunday, which usually means you skip breakfast and lunch while focusing on a spiritual purpose such as a need for yourself or a loved one, and make a donation to the poor with the money you saved on those meals.

This year we were trying to be financially responsible, so I got myself a little something with money from my parents, but otherwise we didn't do gifts. Katie baked me a cake using a secret family recipe

Ginger crumb cake is the best.

Rules of the Road

It's been a long time since I've posted anything about running, so I figure I can indulge myself a bit. It's been a difficult summer, with one illness or injury after another, and I feel like I'm barely maintaining basic conditioning, let alone improving. This year marks a decade since I started, though, and I've learned a few things over that time that might have been nice to know earlier. Here are a few random tidbits I've figured out over the last ten years that may be of interest to anyone just getting started.

  • The single most crucial aspect of running is consistency. If you don't set a schedule you won't be consistent. If you're not consistent, you will never progress.
  • You can do more than you think you can. It's all about incremental improvement. When I first started, a 10k seemed intimidating, never mind a half marathon or more. Now half marathons are routine, and I just need to conquer the idea of marathons being routine. I've run a couple but haven't made that stride yet.
  • Injuries will happen. You have to persist. It took me 4 years to conquer shin splints, but I did it. I ended up going to a physical therapist earlier this year, who was able to identify some things I could improve on.
  • If a dog comes after you, the best thing to do is stop and talk to it soothingly. They almost all turn into friendly puppies. The other day after running out and barking at me a dog ran along with me for about half a mile.
  • If you have been running consistently and don't like it, maybe you should try cycling or another form of exercise. As much as I advocate it, it's probably not for everyone. It should make you happy to get out, rather than being a source of stress.
  • Don't let weather stop you. You can run in rain, snow, wind, and sun. You can run when it's below zero or over 100 degrees (maybe not 100 degrees Celsius, though). If you allow yourself to get uncomfortable sometimes, you can deal with other inconveniences in life better. 
  • Related to the weather thing, a tip for running in the winter. You should be cold when you start, so you probably need less warm clothing than you think. You don't want to overheat and have to shed clothes later. It takes me maybe 10 minutes to warm up, and then I'm perfectly comfortable in short sleeves and shorts down to about 20 degrees. Below that, or with serious wind, I will wear running gloves or at least long sleeves. Only when it's down to about zero do I want an extra layer.
  • You can also run when you're sick, most of the time. I don't usually run if I have a fever, but if I just have a cold or whatever, I still get out. I might reduce my mileage a bit if it's bad.
  • I used to hate hills, because they mess up my time, but I've had to get used to them since moving to Idaho. They are your friend, and make you faster as you learn to deal with them. I've now been able to do as much as 1200 feet of climb over the course of 13 to 15 miles, something I couldn't have imagined before. And for all that uphill you do, you get to enjoy sweet downhill as well on the way home.
  • Explore your area. Don't always run the same route. You can get to know neighborhoods that you might not see otherwise.

I'll probably think of more later.