The Agony and the Ecstasy

I finally decided to update the blog. So I picked a random template and it seems nice enough. Maybe I'll customize it one of these days. Or maybe I'll keep switching it out until I find an especially awesome theme.

There hasn't been a lot on my mind in particular, so let's see where this goes.

I'm struck by the intense contrasts of parenting. For example, a few nights a week I come home from work, and Katie drops Sam off at taekwondo and heads to the gym. I stay home with the other three kids and try to make dinner. It can be pretty stressful to prepare a meal with constant demands for something or other, fights, and whatever else is happening. I feel good that I'm giving Katie a little time to herself, but it's exhausting.

Then there are the other times. I usually read a chapter in a book to Allison before tucking her in, and it's just the two of us for a few minutes. Or I hold Clara and sing to her to rock her to sleep. She's almost four, but I re…

The Storm

On Saturday evening it began to rain while we were out and about celebrating Allison's birthday. We had an early dinner and came home to relax with my parents. The kids were watching a movie and Katie went to the church to practice the organ in preparation for playing the next day. Then my dad's phone piped up with some kind of extreme weather warning, and I looked at my phone's weather app. There was a tornado warning for the eastern part of our county (which is where we are), but it looked like it was cancelled by that point. But the rain turned to hail, and I mean HAIL.

The way the wind was whipping the hail into the house was insane. We went out on the front porch (which is well sheltered from the direction of the storm) and watched the constant lightning up in the clouds. For maybe 20 minutes it was as intense as any storm I have ever experienced in my life.

When it was over we assessed the damage. The first thing I noticed was that it had pummeled the paint off of ou…


Saturday was Allison's 8th birthday. In the LDS Church, 8 years old is the age at which children are baptized, so it has particular significance.

My parents and Katie's parents came up for it. We're pretty low-key about things like this, trying not to let Church culture overwhelm the actual significance of the event. For example, we didn't get her a plain white dress because I don't understand the point of buying a dress she will likely only wear once. (We'll see about a wedding dress.)

Everything went fine for the most part, but I had forgotten some dry clothes and Katie went back home to get them, which made everyone wait an extra five minutes or so. Afterward, Allison wanted us to go to Chuck-A-Rama for dinner. (Side note: It might be cheaper for me to send Sam there for dinner every night than to actually buy food for him, given how much he eats now.)

Allison has an interesting duality. She can be the sweetest child, putting up with a lot of annoyance from …

Potty Language

When it comes to parenting style, Katie and I are of the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants variety. For better or worse, we don't read parenting books or solicit advice from others. We typically just muddle on through. And as far as I know, so far our children have escaped being permanently scarred from this kind of upbringing. (Though admittedly most of these issues would probably show up later in their lives anyway.)

Enter: toilet training.

I don't know how we managed to get the first two kids toilet trained. I can't speak to how other parents do it, but our kids flat-out refuse to try. The only way we got Sam to use the toilet was to make him sit there until he couldn't hold it in anymore. Then he saw it wasn't scary or painful, and quickly progressed. It was the same with Allison, and between the two of them they only ever wet their beds a handful of times. We trained them late, but they got it down quickly.

Clara turns four in May, and by last fall I was pretty an…

Dream Log: 03/28/18

Last night I dreamed I was the Secretary of Education for the United States. I don't remember being aware of who was the president, although I did wonder what happened to Betsy DeVos and figured I could hardly do a worse job. I needed to mail something and figured I could use this special ring I had to avoid having to put a stamp on it. But I don't know how it was supposed to work.

Later I dreamed that I was supposed to teach a college class on abnormal psychology. And, much like the dreams in which I am a student, I was woefully unprepared. I thought it was in this big amphitheater, but there was already a professor in there, who directed me to the far side of the room, where a small hallway included a room that would fit about 6 desks. I was actually relieved that there weren't more students. For some reason my boss and a coworker were there to support me, and then there were a few students. We got started and I thought I'd kill some time by learning their names and …

Water Water Everywhere

This morning was rough. The kids had spring break last week, so we were all back on an earlier schedule. And when I went downstairs to wake up the kids for school, I could hear a noise. I thought it was a toy that had been left on, but as I turned the lights on I noticed several things, First, my feet were wet. Why were my feet wet? Also, the noise was water dripping on something on the floor. I looked up and noticed huge paint bubbles on the ceiling, with water dripping down in several places.

Naturally, I panicked. I've heard too many horror stories about flooded basements and mold and huge cleanup jobs. I shut off the water and got the kids up and off to school while waiting for plumbers to open for the day. I called someone, who came and told me I needed to get in touch with my homeowner's insurance and a disaster restoration company.

I called the insurance company, and they were not particularly helpful, But I initiated the claim and called the restoration company the plu…

Dysplasia and Disinformation

Okay, I think I feel a little more comfortable now discussing the vague "health issues" stuff from a previous post. Last fall I had a colonoscopy and my doctor kind of led me to believe I was teetering on the edge of having cancer.

A few months later I had another appointment in preparation for a follow-up scoping, and he explained things a little more. Apparently I had something called dysplasia, which is the beginning of cells mutating into cancer. There's high-grade dysplasia, and low-grade dysplasia. For months I was convinced I had the high-grade kind, thinking it was just a matter of time. But he finally explained that it was "indefinite" dysplasia, so I guess it wasn't totally confirmed that the mutations were going on.

His philosophy is to treat everything that has the potential to be cancer as seriously as possible, which makes sense. But in retrospect I felt a little misled. He had me try some more intense treatments intended to reduce the inflamm…