Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sunday night dinner in front of the laptop

Trish and I don't have a TV, so as we sat down to a late Sunday dinner tonight, we decided to entertain ourselves by pulling up the laptop to see if any friends had posted on their blogs. Nothing. Sunday must really be a day of rest.

Anyway, I fixed us Ramen with carrots and corn. This is the first time I've cooked Ramen for us. Trish's reaction? "I kind of like Ramen. Is that weird? It's weird. I've decided it's weird. I should have more discerning taste."

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas letter

Trish and I enjoyed our first Christmas together. Being so close to both families is nice; we spent Christmas Eve with the Newmans and Christmas Day with the Sederbergs.

Tricia's brother Dave surprised us by giving us a digital camera for Christmas; we're excited to start having more pictures on our blog again!

Below is the first edition of our annual Christmas letter. Click on it to go to the full-sized image.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Proof of poor cell phone coverage

Trish and I have a landline, not because we need it (we both have plenty of cell phone minutes), but because neither one of us gets incredible cell phone coverage where we live.

I just discovered on the T-Mobile website that you can check to see how strong their coverage is at your address. This is interesting--if we lived 1/2 mile northwest, I'd have full coverage. As it is, the best I can hope for is below-average signal strength.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

why I like ward Christmas parties

Monday night our ward in Springville gathered to celebrate the holiday with its annual Christmas party. All of the wards I have been in have this tradition, although the party is unique to the ward. This year, as Matt and I participated as "adults", we came away with a very robust feeling. I wanted to share just a few unique reasons why I liked this year's Springville celebration so much:

1. N - Z is in charge of salads. Our ward has a tradition of assigning food responsibilities to every family. The ward itself provides the main dish and usually vegetables and bread, but the rest of us bustle out with salads, jello, dessert, and other side dishes. I experimented wth a creamy lime jello that seemed to be well received (maybe because it was green...).

2. BYOP. Bring your own plates. Our ward doesn't expend money on plates, cups, or utensils, or the labor to wash them all. We all bring our own to each ward-eating function. Pretty smart.

3. Fetish with desserts.
Before even half of us had been through the dinner line, a Swiss cake--made by an authentic Swiss man in our ward--was almost all the way eaten. We were warned of our ward's special hankering for desserts BEFORE dinner is over, so we snuck some cake for ourselves. DELICIOUS! We were glad to be so nicely informed of the unknown-to-us tradition.

4. Dancing grown-ups.
For the festivities, each table was assigned a part in the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas." Out table had 9 ladies dancing and were assigned to stand up and do some action, while singing our part, during that particular part of the song. Our table leader, Brother Stewart, is older but still encouraged all of us to get up and dance around. He himself led the troupe with some ballerina-type twirling. It was inspiring--and entirely entertaining--to see.

5. Clean-up crew.
With over 150 guests, the clean-up for such a party would seem to be overwhelming. But within a half hour, the decorations were gathered, the tables cleared, the chairs stacked up and put away, and the piano rolled back to its room. A few solitary men--with Santa hats--were mopping the floor as we took our leave with little more for us to do. (Hint: when 50 of the 150 guests stay to help clean-up, it is a lot more efficient.)

6. Being with my husband.
Perhaps best of this year was the chance to share this experience with my husband. For the first time. We socialized with other couples, moved aside for running kids, clapped in enthusiastic appreciation for the performances, and danced our part in the song with gusto. And we were 2 of the crew who stayed to clean up. I love having someone to share all this with, and I love him wanting to be so involved. (Sigh. I really love my husband.)

So, if you're thinking about dodging your ward Christmas party this year, pause to consider some of the reasons why ward Christmas parties can be one of the funnest parts of the season.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Sunday morning

Yesterday, for the second Saturday in a row, we had a significant snowstorm. The snowfall continued until Sunday morning, so I woke up and helped shovel the church sidewalks across the street, then came and cleaned off our own driveway. Shoveling snow is my favorite exercise to do on Sundays.

I came into the house and encountered the smell of hot biscuits just coming out of the oven. This was Tricia's first time making biscuits from scatch, and they were great! I had four. Here's how many were left.

Finally, Tricia gave me a hair cut last night. Here I am, in a tribute pose to Seth Godin (one of my favorite Internet marketers), showing it off.

Here is Seth Godin, for your comparison.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Our reaction to Mitt's speech

Thursday, Mitt Romney gave his much anticipated speech, "Faith in America," in which he publicly confirmed to a nationwide audience that if he wins the presidency, he would not be unduly influenced by the Mormon prophet in his decision-making. Almost every news source compared the setting of the speech to JFK's similar address when he was running for President, in which JFK declared he would be independent of the pope.

Tricia and I listened to a recording of Mitt's speech over the Internet while we did dishes that evening, and we applauded it.

First, he did an excellent job of steering the conversation to where the issue truly lay, which is how he would act as President. Though some critics were disappointed that he didn't go into details on the beliefs of the Mormon church, other pointed out that Mitt had nothing to gain by becoming a spokesman for his church (something he has consciously avoided) and applauded his decision to focus on the more relevant picture of how his faith would inform his presidency.

Mitt also found time to praise other religious traditions in America, and mentioned that as many adherents to Lutheranism, Judaism, and Catholicism were honoring the religion of their fathers, so was he in his conviction to Mormonism.

Here are some of my favorite lines from the speech. You can find the complete text of the address here.

"No candidate should become the spokesman for his faith, for if he becomes president, he will need the prayers of the people of all faiths."

"Let me assure you that no authorities of my church, or of any other church for that matter, will ever exert influence on presidential decisions. Their authority is theirs, within the province of church affairs, and it ends where the affairs of the nation begin."

"I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and the savior of mankind. My church's beliefs about Christ may not all be the same as those of other faiths. Each religion has its own unique doctrines and history. These are not bases for criticism, but rather a test of our tolerance."

"Americans tire of those who would jettison their beliefs, even to gain the world."

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Thanks to, a free web analytics tool that tracks how many people visit your website, this map shows where people live that have been reading our blog over the past few weeks.

Our Christmas houseplant

Al Gore would be proud. In this season of consumption, we elected to not "consume" a Christmas tree this year. Instead, we dropped $10 at Lowe's and took home our Tannenbaum, tucked on the floor of the front seat in between Tricia's feet.

This little plant isn't a bush--it's a Norfolk pine tree. If we keep watering it throughout the year, we can use it again for years to come.

The only downside is that we discovered most of our ornaments, and all of our strings of lights, are a bit heavy for the tree's branches. So you'll notice a few ornaments ornamentally leaning next to the pot, and Trish placed the tree under our spotlight to add some special lighting to the scene.