Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I'm in Prague and I'm missing Halloween, which is arguably one of the more entertaining of holidays when one has children. I just got these pics from my wife. Our church had a "Trunk-or-Treat" last night. This is where people decorate their cars/trunks and then the kids trick-or-treat from car to car through the parking lot and get lots of candy, etc... Basically, it's just a 2nd night of candy hoarding for the kiddos.

Anyway, apparently, my son, Collin's iPod costume was voted the "coolest" costume of the gathering. It also was mistaken for a trash can by more than one person when he took it off so he could eat! He and I worked on it for 2 weeks, so we're pretty proud of it. This is the first time I've actually seen him in it since we finished it late on Saturday.

Kate is Princess Genevieve (from The 12 Dancing Princesses movie).

Logan is a spider and Seth is an elephant.

The twins are making funny faces in this picture because they had just sampled their first lollipops. Logan is the sweet-tooth of the two, and he got pretty excited about the sucker, but Seth didn't take to it as well.

The hotel here is having some sort of Halloween dinner and party tonight, but I think I'll pass. No costume anyway. It should make for some interesting people watching in the lobby, though.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

In Prague

I travelled to Prague, Czech Republic yesterday. I'm here for a business conference, so unfortunately I'll be spending most of my time inside at meetings. My adventure, however, started as soon as I landed.

We were instructed by the conference organizers to NOT take a taxi from the airport to the hotel. Apparently, it is a largely unregulated industry here in Prague, with a propensity to over-charge and/or rip off foreigners. So, we were given instructions on how to make use of the abundant public transportation found here. Now, I purposely did not over-pack, but I had 1 suitcase, a hang-up bag, my laptop bag and a carry-on bag. And now I was going to try to get on a bus into the city center, then transfer to a tram, then walk about 3 blocks to the hotel? Fun. Kinda made me want to take my chances with a cab.

But, being a good and fiscally responsible employee, I heeded the advise of the trip planners and decided to take the bus. This is my bus below.

I bought my ticket (280 Kc, which is about $14 US, for the whole week - not bad, as it covers all buses, trams, and subways), and found the bus stop no problem. When the bus arrived, I turned and picked up all of my luggage, and right when I got to the stairs, the bus driver looked me in the eye, closed the doors, and drove off!

Great! Is this how my stay is going to begin?!

Grumbling, I sat back down and waited another 10 minutes for the next bus.

I should note at this time that I had just gotten off an 8 hour flight from Atlanta, I hadn't really slept in almost 3 days, it was 8am local time, and it was about 30 degrees outside. I was not in a cheery mood.

When the next bus showed up, I grabbed my bags and headed for the door. As soon as the other passengers boarded (I was not the only one waiting, but I WAS the only one with luggage.) the driver (new driver this time) looked me in the eye, closed the doors, and drove off, leaving me standing there holding my bags again! I yelled something at the departing bus (could have been English, but might have passed for Czech) and scared a lady with a couple of small kids that was walking past, and started to formulate a plan for the next bus. I was determined to not miss it again.

When I saw the next bus coming 1/2 block away, I picked up my bags (all of them at once) and pushed my way to the front of the line. Noone protested, but it's possible they might have sensed my precarious mental state. As soon as the doors opened, I vaulted myself onto the bus and into a big pile on the floor. Then the bus sat there for about 5 minutes while a passenger in a wheel chair got off. I had to move my bags out of the way so they could disembark. But I made it! And that's what is important here. Victory was mine.

The rest of the journey to the hotel (right) was quite uneventful. Despite the apparent rudeness of the airport bus drivers, everyone else I have come in contact with here has been incredibly helpful, nice, and accomodating.

Prague is a very beautiful city. I took some time last night to walk around some of the historical parts of town, and I am greatly impressed. Found a nice little restaurant right on the central square of the old city. The picture menu helped. Lots of old buildings and cool architecture. I can't wait to see more!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Tight Jeans

Melanie received an email yesterday with the following picture attached:

Now, I know this is certainly not the focal point of the picture, but I think it is pretty clear that the guy in the background does not own a mirror. Or underpants, for that matter. This goes WAY beyond the Levi's 501 effect.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Naughty kids

So, last night, Melanie had a "thing" with the Young Women organization in our ward, so I got to put everyone to bed. The twins were fed, so all I had to do was bathe them, dress them in PJs, make them bottles, and put them in bed. Simple, right? These guys are easy - what could go wrong?

Well, I got them bathed no problem. Cute little guys love taking baths in the utility sink in our laundry room. They do this thing where they raise their hands up and play with the water as it comes out of the faucet. They would stay in there all night if I let them, and if they didn't keep trying to stand up, then slipping, and almost vaulting themselves out of the basin.

Anyway, they were now clean, so I got them out and put diapers on them. Since they're getting big, and they're very wiggly, I took Logan upstairs first and set him down on the landing at the top of the stairs. He looked longingly at the toy room/loft that is right there, so I told him to go say "hi" to Collin, who was taking a shower at that time in the master bathroom. Then I went down to get Seth.

When I came up with Seth (like 30 seconds later, or less even), Logan was gone. I found him, as requested, in the master bathroom, sitting still, talking to Collin, and watching Collin take a shower. So I left him there and took Seth into the twins' room to put his PJs on. I once heard someone say that putting PJs (or any clothing, really) onto a baby is akin to trying to stuff an octopus into a mesh bag. I can see the similarities, though I have never attempted the latter. That task completed, however, I set off in search of Logan to do the same. I did not have to travel far, as just as I turned to leave the room, he came scurrying into the room at a dead out sprint (hands and knees). He was soaking wet. Hmmm. COLLIN!! No response. Grumbling, I dried Logan off with something I found on the floor of his room, then quickly (see above comment on dressing babies) got him dressed for bed.

At this moment, I realized that I had completely neglected to prepare bottles for them, so I left them playing on the floor of their room and went downstairs to get bottles and formula, chastising Collin along the way for apparently having "spit" several mouthfuls of water on Logan from the shower.

Upon returning, I find Seth crawling down the hall, so I scooped him up, plugged his bottle into his mouth, and put him in his crib. Cute little fella was just happy to finally be in bed! "So, where is Logan?" I ask myself. That's when I heard the yelling and screaming coming from the other bathroom. I arrived there to find Logan (in his PJs) standing next to the tub, where Kate was taking her evening bath, gleefully splashing the water (which was about 3 inches from the edge) and Kate pouring water on his head. Collin was there, too, laughing, screaming, and splashing, apparently not at all affected by the scolding he had just received for his own baby-soaking incident but a few minutes before.

Needless to say, Collin & Kate forfeited their dessert for the evening, and Logan basically got 3 baths in the span of 15 minutes.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Weekend with Daddy

Melanie is in a book club that meets once a month. This month, they decided to do an "over-nighter" up at her cousin's cabin/palace in Payson. So, I got kid duty. Not a big deal, really. I like kids. I even like my kids. So, I planned a fun time for us, complete with junk food, staying up way too late, and a complete neglect of personal hygiene. I even worked from home on Friday so I wouldn't have to worry about rushing home so that Melanie could get away whenever she was ready to leave. What I didn't count on was being so completely busy with work that the kids, yes all 4 of them, just ran amok through the house for about a hour and 1/2 after Mel left before I could tend to them. Mel's dream of coming home the next day to a clean and orderly house was dashed before she even left town! Collin and Kate tore apart the loft/play room, Logan got into the pantry, and Seth came into the office and clung to my leg whilst screaming for most of that period of time. I soon got the message that the work week was now officially over.

Once I got myself organized, I decided it would be criminal to not take advantage of this opportunity to take the kids out for dinner (like I'm gonna cook at home!), so we went to In-N-Out Burger, home of the Double-Double and animal style fries. This place is akin to Mecca for those in our family, so the choice was a no-brainer; however, with all 4 kids and no adult assistance, it has its challenges.

Surprisingly, it wasn't very crowded at 6:30pm on a Friday night (did I miss something?), and we were able to actually find a place to sit. We were all quite hungry, so we all got cheeseburgers, except for the twins, as they are prohibited from eating dairy, so they got a plain burger. I did zest it up a little for them, though, and had the "chef" put some spread on it for the little guys. Cutest thing is watching those guys go through a hamburger! They love fries with ketchup as well, so I let them indulge. Melanie would be so proud!

While I was monitoring the twins' progress and trying to eat my own food before it got cold (In-N-Out is heaven, unless it gets cold, then it's something not nearly as celestial), Kate was putting all of her In-N-Out kids stickers all over my back, in places I could not reach. I had to get Collin to pull them off, and it must have looked like one of those Discovery Channel shows about gorillas where they groom each other by picking ticks and mites off each others backs. At least he wasn't eating them as he pulled them off, although judging by the amount of ketchup that was on them, they probably wouldn't have tasted half bad. Needless to say, now my white shirt had red splotches all over the back, and it must have looked like I got shot or something. Now the twins were screaming, something about their burger being on the floor and it being past their bed time. I stuffed some fries in their mouths (sans ketchup - for the screaming), then gathered up the crew and headed for the door.

Once at home, I put the babies to bed (they are so easy in that regard - PJs, a bottle, and their blankets, and they're good to go), then decided to watch a movie with Collin and Kate. Collin wanted "The Pink Panther" and Kate wanted "The Haunted Mansion". A fight ensued. Collin won, and that was a good thing, too. Ends up, as benign as "The Haunted Mansion" is, it would have kept the both of them up all night with nightmares, and I had plans to sleep in. Ends up, "The Pink Panther" is quite funny, and Collin got a real kick out of it. Kate fell asleep - she did not get a nap earlier in the day, and, frankly, I'm surprised she lasted as long as she did.

I actually got to sleep in on Saturday. One of the babies got up around 5:30 am (I was in a bit of a stupor and they kind of look the same anyway, especially in the dark, but I think it was Logan) in need of a diaper change and a new bottle, but other than that it was a peaceful night. I heard Collin & Kate whispering in the hall around 7am - something about being quiet so as to not wake Dad. Such considerate and loving children I have! I finally staggered out of bed around 9am, fed everyone some Cream of Wheat, and then we all watched "The Haunted Mansion", since it was light out and arguably a little less spooky. Well, about 1/2 way through the movie I looked over at Kate, and she was visibly shaking with fear. Something about the corpses in the crypt coming to life and chasing Eddie Murphy and his daughter didn't sit well with her. I sat with her for the rest of the movie, and we took turns peeking through the holes in the afghan and reporting to each other what was going on in the movie. That helped to ease her mind somewhat, but she's been talking about it ever since. Poor kid was freaked out!
I think Melanie expected me to be challenged somewhat by my night with the kids. I hate to disappoint, but it was a lot of fun, and it ends up I slept more than she did. She said she was up until 3am yakking with her girlfriends - not sure if the book of the month ever came up - and got up early for breakfast and antique shopping. Just goes to show you that sometimes even Dad can pull it off.
Of course, it's not really fair. I'm leaving for Prague next week, and I'll be gone all week. I'll never pay down that debt.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

My "band"

OK, so I'm in an a cappella performing group. My wife calls it a boy band. So be it. It's a hobby. However, if you happen to come see us perform and you are expecting some sweet choreographed dance moves and thousands of swooning teenage girls throwing their lingerie at us, well you'll be gravely disappointed. Dance moves are pretty much non-existent - we don't even let a couple of the guys snap (think "The Jerk", starring Steve Martin) - and the only girls swooning over us are our wives and daughters - and Mom. My wife, Melanie, does still harbor illusions of teenage innocence (see her blog : and my daughter, Kate, is barely 4, so I'm not sure if the swooning on my behalf is genuine fan adoration or simply family loyalty. I'll accept the cheers however they come! (Side note: still no sign of lingerie at any of our shows. Mom, keep yours on.)

We do have a lot of fun with it, however, and we actually have a few shows coming up:

On Nov. 19th, we'll be singing at the Festival of Trees fund raiser at the new Banner Gateway Hospital. On Dec 1st, we're headlining the City of Chandler Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. And on Dec 16th, we're performing at the Mesa, AZ Mormon Temple Christmas Lights concert. So, if you want to check us out, please stop by at any of these public gatherings.

As for us being a "boy band", I have some issues with that moniker. Now, I will admit that we do have the one bad-boy guy with facial hair, a couple of pretty boys, a sporty guy, and a quiet brooding type, but that's as far as it goes.

First of all, we all do have to shave regularly, and secondly, none of us, to my knowledge, has ever dated J-Lo. We don't (and can't) dance, and I'm pretty sure we're all straight. So there you have it.

We do have a great sound, though, and we're in the process of cutting a CD, so please check us out if you get the chance. We're called MC6, and we have a blog at

In trouble in DC

About 3 weeks ago, my wife and I went to Washington, DC for a little "us" time away from the kids. Well, actually, I was going anyway because I had a meeting there, but we decided to take advantage of the already-being-paid-for-by-the-company airfare (for me at least) and fancy hotel and, for minimal additional cost to make a week of it together.

We had a grand ol' time seeing our nation's capital, sampling many of the museums and historical sites, not to mention the many fine restaurants. It was on the way to one of those fine culinary establishments that I forged the lasting memory of our romantic stay in DC.

See, we did not rent a car for this trip, on the advise from the travel agent, as parking is expensive and virtually non-existent in DC, and for the fact that the DC Metro (subway) system is quite extensive and easy to use. So we pretty much got everywhere we needed to go by either taking the Metro or by walking. And we did a LOT of walking.

Anyway, I had been in a boring meeting all day long, and finally I was free and we were now on our way to a South American restaurant, Cafe Atlantico (, recommended by the guidebook. We decided to take the Metro, as it was way too far to walk, and our journey beneath the earth would require a transfer to another train line in order to get where we needed to go.

Upon disembarking the Red line, we made our way to the platform for the Yellow/Green line and there awaited the next train. Now, it was only our 2nd day in DC, and we were still getting used to the Metro system. So, I checked the signs and positioned us on the platform to catch the train to our destination stop. The train arrived and we shuffled aboard. At that time I decided to check the map posted inside the train to make sure we were headed the right way, and quickly discovered that we were in fact heading the wrong way! So I quickly said to Melanie, who was standing right next to me, and right next to the still-open door, that we had made a mistake and that we should get off the train, and then I bolted off the train. Just as the doors closed. Melanie did not make it off. I will never forget the look on her face as the train pulled away and she mouthed to me, whilst pointing to the spot where I was standing, "Stay right there."

So, I stayed right there. For over 20 minutes. The next stop down the line was not very far away, and I figured an average person could probably make the turn around and be back to the platform in about 5 minutes. Well, I waited a long time, searching every train that came through (easily 15 trains), and I could not find her anywhere. I knew I was in big trouble, but was unsure how to fix things. Our cell phones did not work in the Metro (T-Mobile - go figure. Although I did notice a number of Verizon customers that had plenty of cell coverage down there!), so that idea was out.

Finally, I decided that the best thing I could do was to just go to our destination stop and wait for her there. And lo and behold, as I came up the long dreadful escalator at the Metro exit,

there she was, my sweet little buttercup, with flaming hair and red darts for eyes. Apparently, she had been waiting for about 20 minutes. Hmmm. Sorry about that honey. Say, which way to the restaurant?

Dinner was fair at best. I had some weird chicken dish. Very expensive and not nearly enough food. Mel really liked the arugula salad, though.

Singing in the car

OK, so I'm driving to work this morning, jamming to "White Wedding" on my iPod and doing my best Billy Idol impersonation (yes, sneer and all),

when I look over at the car next to me and a dude that looks EXACTLY like Billy Idol is staring back at me! I'm talking blond spikey hair, earrings, and, yep, you guessed it, the sneer. Made my day, and it was only 8:30am.