Friday, December 19, 2008

Goodbye to Our Cats

This past Saturday we ended a long lasting and unfortunately declining relationship with our two cats, Max and Marzipan. Although being cat owners early on was fun, the addition of children and the responsibilities associated with parenthood caused our priorities to change dramatically. It was surprisingly one of the more difficult things I have had to do recently, even though we mutually decided on it.

For those who know us, know my long going rivalry with these feisty felines. I butted heads with Heather early on when we were married only a year and the desire for cats came into Heather's consciousness. But it was me who after we picked up Marzipan on a Saturday afternoon in March of 2003 that suggested we get another. I do admit a moment of weakness on my part. I thought it would be good for brothers to be together and keep themselves occupied when we were away. They were adorable kittens and Heather and I enjoyed them. However, the honeymoon for me didn't last long and only a year later, there were many days wishing we didn't have them.

Max eats ribbon, string and those plastic rings you tear off the milk jug and later throws them up. He used to come into our room at night and eat Heather's silver jewelry and throw that up as well. Marzipan licked photographs and plastic bags like he was a coke junkie needing his next fix. He would over eat and then throw up his dinner 15 minutes later (and regurgitate if you know what I mean, if we didn't catch him). They both had their front claws, and as a result tore up two couches, my DJ equipment cases, carpets galore. They shed so much we couldn't allow them on our furniture. At times they snuck into our bed at night while we were sleeping. Sometimes as I was attempting to cuddle up next to Heather, I found a warm furball curled up in between us. I cut that off as soon as it started. They drove me crazy to no end, but it was me crying in the Minivan pulling away from the Denver Dumb Friends League on Quebec.

Heather was just as tired of them as I was. However, it took her a much longer period of time to feel this way. It was likely my vocal disdain for the cats that likely helped her want to keep the cats as long as we did. We decided mutually to say goodbye last Saturday. They were nearly out of food, and with all the changes to our home in the coming months I went ahead and took care of it.

We let the cats upstairs and I put them in their carrier. Caleb was playing with Max. Which means he was carrying him under the cats front legs and Max was tolerating the punishment. I put him in first, and found Marzipan nearby. The goodbye after nearly 6 years was pretty brief. They had no idea how much there lives were going to change. Caleb said goodbye like I was taking them with me to run errands, having no idea he was saying goodbye for the last time.

I loaded them in the car with a mostly filled bucket of cat litter. As I drove away, Max started to cry. He has never liked riding in the car and this time was no different. His cry is so strange sounding, he literally sounds like a little child when he cries.

As I walked in to the intake facility, the girl at the desk asked me some questions, entered in some information to the computer, and I filled out some paper work for each of the cats. As I filled out the paperwork, Max was taken out by a careworker and was carried away. Marzipan was right behind him. I didn't formally say goodbye to either of them, and I felt bad about it.

That afternoon a somber mood filled our house. Neither of us felt comfortable discussing the issue the entire day. We went to a Christmas party that night and upon our return, Caleb asked where the cats were. I nearly lost it. I choked back the tears and explained to Caleb they were at a new home. It has been weird coming home to a completely empty house, when Heather's away.

It's been nearly a week now, and my much more rational side has set in. My second thoughts of whether I had done the right thing subsided and looking back I feel like we made the right choice for them. I hope they find a new home, I understand the reality is they may not, at least in mortality. We couldn't provide a happy home for them anymore, and we gave them a chance at a better life whether it's in this one or the next.

Mark and Ben, it's now okay for you to come over to our house.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More to be Grateful for

In my attempt to be grateful via the blogosphere, I would like to take the time to express my gratitude to my wife. Aside from being very beautiful in every sense of the word, she has endured a lot with me. I know I frustrate her on a consistent basis, and perhaps another woman would have given up long ago, but I am grateful for her patience and unconditional love toward me.

Marriage is a funny thing. I have had friends over the years who have been to afraid to take the plunge when opportunity presents itself. Reasons for doing so usually are one of the following. They are either (a) concerned the person they are with isn't "the one" or (b) are stuck in an existing relationship and are too afraid to end it. For those who are unsure about whether they have met the right person, take this into account. Do you like being around her/him, is she/he living a good life and what kind of mother/father will she/he be? There is no way to look into a crystal ball and determine whether the person you have married or will marry is the right one. If you are waiting for a sign from the Heavens, it likely won't happen either. Sometimes (this is how it was for me), you have to take a leap of faith. I knew Heather for years prior, but only as an acquaintance. From the time we went on our first date, to the time we decided to get married it was about 2 weeks. We hardly knew each other, but we knew we were doing the right thing. Not because we could see our lives 5-10-20 years forward, but because we both acted on a spiritual impression. The only way something like that will work is through faith. I am thankful Heather had the faith in me to entrust her life to me.

To the other folks who are just drifting along and not happy in a relationship, you can always end it and move on. If you want to find the right person to spend your life with, be the type of person you would want to marry. That can work for good or bad. Once again, you need to have faith and trust that things will happen as they should. The only thing you can change about your situation is YOU. Work on yourself. You will find a capacity for growth and development for the better that will stay with you for your life and beyond. You will crave it like your favorite dish.

I know I went on a bit of a tangent, but I am attempting to make a point here. Had I not had the faith in the unknown over 7 years ago and get married to Heather, I never would have known so much joy. I am grateful for following on an impression and staying committed to that impression. My life has been blessed in so many ways because of my close relationship with my wife. I have learned so many things about myself, and helped me gain a capacity for compassion for others. Adding children to the equation has expounded on that too. I'm a better man because of her, and I hope that she is a better woman because of me. That's what marriage to the right person does for you.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gratitude for Many Things

This week is Thanksgiving, also known as "Black Friday Eve." The poor holiday gets no respect. The very moment the lights have gone out on our jack-o-lanterns and our children have gorged themselves on their last piece of candy, the retail industry begins flooding the airwaves with Christmas themed commercials in an attempt to cash in on the festivity of the 25th of December. Although Christmas is certainly a bigger deal than Thanksgiving, it has easily overshadowed it.

Thanksgiving is a great time of year to reflect on the blessings we have received, and even though we have a four-day weekend in the works that we all look forward to, this is a significant day to be grateful. In that spirit, I am going to take the time to express gratitude for many things we have received as family in the last year.

Definitely the highlight of all blessings we have received this year is the increase in size to our family. Bryce has been such a sweet addition to our family. He has come a long way from being in the infant ICU at Lutheran Hospital to the large and in charge 5 month-old living in our home today. He is so even tempered, easily pleased and has the cutest laugh. I can't rave enough about the joy of fatherhood, and it gets even better with every new addition to our family. Like many of you who read this, having more children can always be a challenge, but the joy of having kids and the opportunity to be selfless and considerate that being a parent forces you to be is such a blessing. If you don't have children and are capable, please don't be afraid of it. It will bless you in many ways and teach you true joy and happiness.

I am also thankful for financial success. I don't mean to dive too deeply into this, but I am grateful that my parents taught me the value and blessings available to those who pay a full tithe and are generous in our offerings. I took the advice of a former bishop and decided this year to double my fast offering contributions. We have been blessed with funds that would have never would have come our way had we not decided to be generous in this regard.

I am grateful despite economic turmoil, our family is fed, we have a roof over our head that we aren't losing anytime soon, and we have reliable transportation. I heard a quote one time that said, "I complained that I had no shoes, until I met a man that had no feet."

My plan is, and with any luck, to add to this list throughout the week.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Tribute to the Corolla

I would like to take the time to pay tribute, a eulogy if you will, to my dearly departed 1990 Toyota Corolla that I have called my own for the last 9 years. Yesterday the car was donated and towed away from my garage. Even though I am sad to see the car go, I am glad it happened. It couldn't start anymore, the headlight was missing, the stereo was stolen out of the car for the 3rd time, and it was embarrassing to drive this thing around after a while. It was my first car, and my only car for quite some time. Here are some stories I've had with this vehicle.

I found the car in a Rocky Mountain News ad in January 2000, only a couple of months after my return to Colorado from California. The car was purchased with a whopping 75,114 miles on it. I bought it from a retired car salesman who sold cars from his home for people who were too busy to do it on there own. Coincidentally (not ironically), the man who I bought it from lived literally 5 minutes from where I live now off Havana and Iliff for $4200.

I drove this car to Utah a couple of months after I bought it to my mission reunion. I still remember Dylan and I listening to the Beatles while driving down I-70 at 1 am in the middle of Utah.

In September of 2000, myself and a number of close friends went to see Moby at Red Rocks. On my way back out of the parking lot, my car ran out of gas. We were bailed out by a nice guy in a tow truck who happened to carry an extra couple of gallons in his truck. I spent the entire trip home listening to Mike Bonnstetter, Dylan, DANIELLE and Dan Hamblin teased me relentlessly. It was amusing to me, so I did my best Geoff impression from High School. I stopped the car, put it into park and declared, "That's it! I'm walking home!" Mike and Dylan absolutely lost it!

I took this car on my first date with Heather, and a few weeks later when we decided we were going to get married, that decision was made in that car. When we were married in August of the next year, my car was decorated and covered in shaving cream and shoe polish on the windshield indicating "Just Married."

I drove this car all the way through my 5 years of college, in snowy weather, in sunny weather, during the day, in the evening after work. When I finished college, I drove it across town to Aurora while I worked at Horan & McConaty.

The car endured over $3,000 worth of repairs in 9 years of ownership. I had the brakes replaced twice, had the interior dashboard replaced after the car stereo was stolen in 2002 from the parking lot of my apartment. I replaced the muffler twice, the battery twice. I lost the headlight on the passenger side driving from Colorado Springs 4 years ago, and was pulled over a total of 6 times by well meaning police officers who noticed I had a head light out (twice in one night about two years ago). It was our dependable, reliable mode of transportation while the starter, wiring and alternator on the 1998 Corolla went out on in during 2007.

I received a total of two speeding tickets while driving the car. Once while driving home from school clocked at 48 in a 35 about 2 blocks away from my parents house. I was pulled over a second time in Idaho doing 80 in a 55 with Heather in the car on our way back from Rexburg to Provo.

By the time it was said and done, the car had endured neary 95,000 more miles with me driving it. I knew things weren't going well when I started driving it a couple of months ago and after all of it's faithful travels, it started sputtering along, idling terribly, and getting horrible gas mileage. I knew we couldn't keep it going. A week later we bought our minivan. Even though I am glad to not be driving the car anymore, a small part of me rode out on that tow truck yesterday as I donated it to Radio 1190. Nearly a third of my life was spent in that car and with all the problems I had with it, it still started, it still ran without complaints, and functioned normally when it probably shouldn't have. It was a great worthwile investment, and I will miss that little car.

So there it is, a salute to the once low mileage compact car turned hoopty. If any of you have memories of my car, feel free to comment on it below!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Heather's a Year Older, and other October Randomness

Last week Heather turned 29 (for the first time we are saying). Both of us decided that the new minivan was an early present of sorts, so we went to a nice place for dinner Wednesday night. We went to The Melting Pot, also known as Fondue Heaven (in my humble opinion). We dined on a 4 course fondue meal, including cheese fondue, tasty salads, an assortment of "marbled meats," topped off with chocolate fondue at the end. It was delicious! I could easily go back there in a heart beat. I strongly recommend this delightful restaurant if you are especially looking to go romantic, it has all the finest qualities of such a restaurant; mood lighting with candles, private booths, valet parking, etc. Hopefully Heather enjoyed herself. I know I did.

Friday night, Heather was hosting a baby shower at the house, so I took the opportunity to head to Arvada and see my dad at the hospital. On the way, we (Caleb and I) stopped by at Sam's Club to purchase cat litter. As we were finishing the purchase, Caleb headed over to the food court and asked the lady for pizza. I waddled over there with a 40 lb tub of litter and sat it down at a table, and then headed over to get pizza for Caleb and I. Caleb was hilarious. As we were eating our pizza, he noticed the cat litter sitting on the other side of the table on the bench. Puzzled and excited all at the same time, he asked me "Is the cat litter going to have pizza too!?" All I could do was laugh. He is such a funny kid!

My dad is doing much better. He started chemotherapy over the weekend for the fourth time. I took Caleb to Heather's parents' house while I hung out at Lutheran with my mom and dad. We had a really good time. Mom brought Thai food for she and Dad, who had been craving the delightful ethnic food for several months. I got there around 7:30, and before I knew it, it was 10:30 and we were still talking. My mom read and told stories to Dad and I about growing up with her Mom and Dad, reading emails swapped with her sister Helen, who always has a great way of describing her childhood. I grabbed Caleb and didn't get back home until about 11:45. I promptly went to sleep.

The last few Saturday mornings have been spent playing football at a nearby park with several guys from our ward's elders quorum. It's a great way to get a workout and Saturday morning was beautiful. I played reasonably well for being a 'picnic' athlete. Every week I don't feel as sore as I do the week before. Maybe this means I am getting into some sort of shape!

That afternoon, we took Caleb and Bryce to a Halloween party at the Thomas's house. Caleb came dressed as a dinosaur. Bryce, in typical hand-me-down fashion, wore Caleb's monkey costume from three years ago. They were both cute and enjoyed their time there.

Sunday was a busy one for Heather. It started about 5:30 am when Bryce woke up to eat. Heather wrapped up around 6. Realizing that going back to bed would cause her to oversleep she stayed up and got ready for church. She is the primary president, and the ward's annual Primary program was that day. She had been laboring for weeks in preparation and was a little stressed about it. Even though it was easily her 3rd or 4th program in her 2 ventures as president, it didn't make it any less stressful. I got the kids and myself ready for church.

We arrived right at 9 am, as Heather left earlier to prepare. Caleb, Bryce and I sat in the overflow. Caleb was a slight handful but was good for the most part. Bryce had a nice blowout, which seems to occur often when I am in charge and Heather isn't. He must be saving up for me. So I spent several minutes of sacrament meeting in the bathroom. Caleb had to go as well. It was an entertaining experience to say the least.

Heather was in a bind and asked me to teach the 5 year old's in primary. The class at 10 kids who were all wound up from a busy day in church. It went better than expected, but man I was beat. My weariness was supersceded by Heather, who had been up much earlier and had the whole primary program to worry about.

Anyway, that's it for me.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Edward Cullen the Doll vs. Vanilla Ice the Doll

In our high demand for crappy merchandise society, there never seems to be an end to companies willing to cash in on the current craze. In 1990, it was Vanilla Ice. In 2008, it's Twilight and Edward Cullen. For those vigilant shoppers who want to make an informed decision as to what doll to purchase for their 10 year-old son circa 1990, or their 30 year-old wife circa 2008, here is a stat by stat comparison as to which doll is the better buy.

Edward Cullen Doll:
Description: 7 inches of hunky vampire goodness. The plastic embodiment of actor Robert Pattinson.

Included Clothes:
Quality stitched recreation of outfit found in the upcoming movie.

Features: Has the ability to swoon young and old ladies alike with his ice cold stare. His hands are in perfect position to caress the hair of any 6 1/4" teenage girl doll within in arms reach; Hair is immobilized to prevent his mane from being altered to look like our next contestant. Has perfect complexion and lipstick left over from Bella (it's her color, can't you tell?) He's scary to look at, afraid for your neck's safety and he's a DOLL!

Downside: I am sure there will be several women disappointed with the fact that you cannot change his outfit. That hairdo? You couldn't go to Homecoming looking like that! (Soon to be released: Edward Cullen, Prom Date Edition). He isn't ice cold to the veins and his hardened exterior is actually because he's plastic, not a buff studly vampire. That outfit is going to look as dated as the Iceman's below in 19 years. His lack of overall mobility will not allow him to be fitted into the Barbie Ferrari, without scuffing his paint job.

Vanilla Ice Doll:

Description: 7 inches of to-the-extreme, rob a mic like a vandal prowess! The plastic embodiment of Robert Van Winkle, all the way from Miami (or is it Dallas?) otherwise known as Vanilla ICE (Yo Vanilla, kick it one time BOYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!)!

Included Clothes:
Some super fruity 2 piece that makes him look like the opening act at a Las Vegas gay bar.

With the ability to light up a stage and jump like a candle, Vanilla Ice is sure to mesmerize you with his unique dancing style and stone cold rhymin'! his arms are made of rubber, allowing him to bend and groove like his clean cut pal Ken; parachute pants can actually provide resistance and a safe landing if he's thrown out of a Cessna; contains the slickest aerodynamic hairdo known in the free world according to NASA; information on joining the Vanilla Ice fan club contained INSIDE; "ICE ICE BABY" printed on the box for clueless parents who don't know Vanilla Ice by name.

Downside: That microphone doesn't really work. He needs a plastic clip on the side of the microphone in order to hold it. Shoulder pads have been known to put out the eyes of eager children; coat does NOT double as reflective outfit when directing traffic at night. Although clothes are changeable, Ken's clothes look really baggy, and Ken's wardrobe is in serious need of updating.

In conclusion, I can't exactly tell you who has the upper hand. The Vanilla Ice doll has not been in production since 1991, and Edward Cullen isn't out until January 2009. Which is the better choice? Who would you choose? Please comment below.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Proud members of the Minivan Parents' Society

When Heather and I were married over 7 years ago, I made the ignorant statement that I would NEVER own a minivan. There was such a negative stigma attached to someone "cool" like me owning a minivan. Now that I've grown up and don't really care what people think, my tune has changed.

For those who know, we've owned both a 1998 & 1990 Toyota Corolla. Both have well over 100k miles on them and have been good cars. Unfortunately, having two car seats in the back now and an ever growing family have caused us to look elsewhere.

We found a great deal on an absolutely pristine quality 2003 Honda Odyssey. It has half the miles of our 98 Corolla, leather interior, DVD player, built in iPod player/controller, clear bra front, sparkling clean interior and 4 snow tires. It was too good to pass up as we made the purchase this past Wednesday.

It gets amazing gas mileage when compared to its SUV counterparts in today's $3.50/gallon for gas society. It rides very smoothly and we all have room! I can't begin to tell you how frustrating it was to put Bryce's carrier in the middle back seat and still had to move the front seats up in order to fit them in. Or how I developed a move similar to a lumberjack hoisting a log to get his car seat in and out of the car, or Caleb kicking us in the back from his car seat. It makes me want to drive on a long trip to really test it out.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Enjoy Your Flight . . . . You Too!

If there was an award for the world's biggest goofball, I think it would be a rather redundant award because Brian Regan would win it every year. I know I can be goofy sometimes, but I don't hold a candle to this guy.

I know that most of you heard of him at some point in recent months or years. My first exposure to the guy was in the summer of 1992, while I wasted away my summer between 8th and 9th grade sitting on the couch watching the new (at the time) Comedy Central network that we just started getting. Brian was the host of a show called Short Attention Span Theater, an hour long show devoted to showing clips of some of the hottest stand up comedians in the country. I got my first exposure to the likes of Ellen Degeneres, Ray Romano, Rondell Sheridan and many others. Brian was a goofy host, but I completely forgot about it until recently when I read his bio.

My sister-in-law Jocelyn turned the family on to him in 2005 during our family trip to Nauvoo. Since then we have become evangelists for his unique combination of goofy and clean humor. Naturally he was a huge success in Utah, but now his repeated visits to David Letterman and other programs have helped his success. My parents' became big fans, purchasing all of his DVD's and CD's. When my dad came out of his coma, he entertained himself to Brian's DVD perfomances to liven his spirits while undergoing cancer treatment. I find people all over who know about this guy now. It's quite refreshing when considering that so much of stand-up comedy these days is excessively low-brow and vulgar. My hat goes off to you Brian!

Monday, September 15, 2008

September in the Air

It's been a couple of weeks since I last posted. We have had a consistent influx of family visiting over the last several weeks. Andrea and Timon left a week ago to go home to Louisiana for the first time in months, and three days later, Mark and Danielle were driving out here for the weekend. Mix in our trip to Nebraska 2 weeks ago, Stefan coming home from his mission the week before and Geoff and Jessie a couple of weeks before that, you get an idea of what our summer has been.

Now that school has started for most kids, and fall is unofficially here, things are starting to settle down a little and the visits will undoubtedly subside until Christmas.

On Friday, Heather and I did something we had not really done since Bryce was born, and that was go on a date. We have coordinated with some friends in our ward to trade weekends watching each other's children while the other goes on a date. This week was our turn and we spent the evening at Dave and Busters. We had a good time. We won a grand total of 257 tickets which we traded in for a little toy for Caleb.

Saturday was a busy morning for me. I had an appointment to meet with a client at 9:30. I almost overslept, but got up in time and arrived on time. Heather took Caleb to a birthday party that afternoon while I watched Bryce. That evening, Heather had a Twilight Mom's get together at a nearby Chili's while I took the kids over to the Ward Chili Cook-Off. Heather made a raspberry cream pie that won an award for her culinary skills. We then piled into the car up to Arvada to see Mark and Danielle and all 4 of their little kids. Rosaline, pictured above, was literally half Bryce's size considering they are only a few weeks apart, that is nothing short of amazing. Her casts on her legs were overwhelmingly cute according to everyone who saw her. We didn't arrive there until nearly 9 pm, which meant we left even later (11:30) than usual. We were exhausted and didn't get to bed until long after midnight.

Sunday after church, I watched an intense Bronco game, and headed over to my parents' house for dinner. We signed Rosaline's cast like we were all kids again. Dylan signed "Word Up!" I signed, "Have a great Summer!" and Mom appropriately signed "Break a Leg!" We had a great time.

Most of the evening Mom, Danielle and Chris were visiting my Dad who begins another round of chemotherapy this morning. We're hoping it's not as bad as it has been the last couple times for him. That has easily got to be one of life's worst experiences and I can't imagine how tough that must be for him.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

4 Nights in Stromsburg

About this time a week ago, I was seriously needing a mini-vacation to recharge the batteries. I don't take enough time off, and when I do, it's for brief spurts. This weekend was obviously Labor Day, and I just had to take that Friday before off. So that's what I did.

With the Democratic National Convention in town, I was a little overwhelmed with people. Protesters, delegates, police, and starstruck tourists filled the streets of Downtown Denver. It was like walking the strip in Las Vegas. After 3 days of it, I was grateful to be leaving our fair city for the Midwest. Heather's sister Allie and her husband Jonathan have been living in Stromsburg, NE since early May as Jonathan has been working doing a paid internship for a company out there. Being in the middle of nowhere, nobody had visited them until we did, so it was to our pleasure to leave as Barack Obama tried to be either the (a) second coming of Jesus, or (b) the second coming of Martin Luther King, Jr., two positions he will never fulfill.

View Larger Map A View of Main St, in Stromsburg.

The drive through Colorado was pretty. There were tons of wildflowers blossoming across the plains giving the ground a look of gold for as far the eye could see. We got into Nebraska about the time the sun went down. That was long! I was driving into a see of darkness with only the mile markers to inform me where we were going and how far we had to travel. I drove on I-80 for 250 miles before we arrived at the exit, where we continued for another 20+ miles until we arrived at their house at around 1:30 am Central time.

We arrived at their house in Stromsburg, a quaint little place in a small town of about 1200 people. No traffic lights, one gas station. We had to go to the library to access the internet, and had absolutely NO cell coverage of any kind there. It was weird to be so disconnected, but it was nice at the same time.

Friday was a lazy day as we all recovered from a long drive into town. Heather caught up with Allie and we all hung out at the house enjoying each other's company and being admittedly lazy.

My idea of a vacation is to relax and vegetate a little, and we succeeded at that. We didn't leave the house until nearly 2 pm that afternoon to go to the library and check our email at one of the computers there. I had to get caught up on a couple of business related issues and feel connected to the outside world, even if it was for only a couple of minutes. Allie and Jonathan searched for places in Omaha to visit when we went there the next day. We settled on a couple of ideas that Caleb would absolutely love.

Allie works at the only Salon in town which is a couple of blocks away. The woman who owns the salon, Melissa, invited us over to dinner on Friday night. She's about Heather's and my age. Her husband Zane works as a farmer somewhere nearby. They were really nice. Melissa was really cute with Caleb and they had a beautiful house. We stayed pretty late quoting Brian Regan jokes and eating cookies. Coincidentally, Brian Regan was appearing on David Letterman that night, so we watched his performance when we got home. It was all new material I haven't heard, and it was funny as usual!

Saturday morning, I did a rare thing and slept past 10 am. Granted, I was in a different timezone, but it was still amazing to sleep in so late. We all piled into our little cars and drove to the Corner Cafe, a small diner in town. We ordered tons of food for a meager price. Each plate came covered in our choice of fries, curly fries or tater tots. It was funny walking in and having all the locals stare at us while we ordered. We definitely stood out, but it was great. Caleb even ate his grilled cheese sandwich.

After lunch and a stop at the gas station, we were off to Omaha to Tiny Town Village. It was a cute little place for kids. Caleb had the time of his life. There was a train ride every thirty minutes and an area for playing in the water with hoses. They had a customized School bus that kids could climb into and play in, as well as a couple of fire trucks. We took plenty of video and pictures of the excursion. The man who owned the place was so kind and cute with the kids, and he would drive the train, complete with stories and tricks up his sleeve to entertain the kids. It was pretty fun for him. I am glad we were able to go.

After 3 hours in Tiny Town, Caleb tagged along as we all went to the outlet stores across the street. I bought shirts for church and Allie and Jonathan bought a bunch of clothes for him as well at Van Heusen. Heather had to feed Bryce shortly thereafter and Caleb and I used the time to use the restroom. On our way back he discovered a toy store that was closed, but in the display window was a train set that he couldn't keep his eyes off of. I let him look at it for several minutes, but we eventually had to go. Despite my efforts to coax him into walking back to the car, he wouldn't leave. Finally, I picked him up and walked away. He threw a huge tantrum and frantically tried to get out of my hands to the train set in the window. I felt bad for him. Until that point, he had been really sweet and was a lot of fun. I think he was tired and was missing interacting with other small children.

That night we went to Rosey's, a small gift shop/ice cream parlor. We had shakes and Banana splits. Caleb had an ice cream cone that kept melting and required me helping him. It was really good though. Allie, Jonathan and I all got a chocolate flavor milkshake. As I ate it, I could swear there was coffee in it. Allie and Jonathan agreed later on because they had the same taste. I am certain there was considering none of us went to bed until after 1 am. Jonathan, Allie and I tore it up on Guitar Hero III and then talked for two more hours.

Sunday morning we went to church in Columbus, about 40 minutes away. The ward building was small, with the chapel also doubling as a Relief Society room. The ward was really friendly. I was exhausted during the last block and looked like a bobble head as I tried to stay awake. It was really hard. The A/C in the room was blowing right on my eyes, drying them out, so I had to keep them closed.

Caleb absolutely loved nursery. It was the first time I can say he didn't want to leave when I came to get him. He was playing with 4 other boys his age in the nursery and they were running laps around a table in the room. It was his first time really playing with peers in a few days, and he liked it.

Sunday afternoon was a lazy one. I was able to take nap for a while on the couch, and that was really refreshing. Allie, Heather and Jonathan made a yummy Sunday meal of chicken and pasta. We played some more Guitar Hero III after dinner and waited for our stomachs to settle enough to eat crepes, courtesy of Jonathan.

Monday morning we left Stromsburg. It was a wonderful visit. Allie and Jonathan are likely not live there more than a few more weeks, making the possibility of a return minimal. It was a great weekend, a great moment for our family. It was such a wonderful contrast to the busy-ness of our hustle and bustle city.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Summer is almost gone!

Summer is nearly gone. It's really quite amazing how fast time travels the older you get. Bryce (pictured at left) turned 9 weeks old on Saturday, eclipsing his 2 month old birthday. He's growing larger and in charger every day. He is so big now we had move him out of the bassinet in our room to a crib with his brother on Saturday.

Heather received as a gift a bunch of crib items (mobile, skirt, bumper) for Bryce's new sleeping quarters. We brushed the dust off of the crib that Caleb slept in until about 18 months ago and assembled it. We had to purchase a second mattress because Caleb is still using the old one.

We also have plans of putting crown molding in the kid's room and needed to paint closer to the ceiling to cover all the old white paint. Being 6' 5", I was assigned that duty. A couple of hours later, Caleb had his first roommate. He was excited about it for sure.

Saturday afternoon, we received an email from my mother, indicating that my younger brother Stefan, who was serving in Columbus, Ohio on his mission, will be coming home on Sunday. He had been dealing with some major depression issues while serving out there, so the stake president and the mission president decided it was best for him to come home and see how he does in a few months to see if he wants to go back. I sure hope he decides to go back. A mission is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you won't get back. It would be good for him to finish strong.

Sunday was a great day. I enjoyed church a lot. Caleb has a bag with all his coloring books, stencils and markers to keep him occupied during sacrament meeting. Well, I forgot it as we were heading out the door on Sunday morning. I had nothing to keep him entertained with except my cell phone. He discovered the picture taking feature pretty quickly and would look through the screen to see around him. He decided to take some pictures along the way. Here are a few selections.

I don't know what his deal was with the last one, but it made me think of my nephew Liam and his camera escapades.

Sunday afternoon, we went over to the hospital to visit with my dad. It was the first time I've seen him without tubes and devices plugged into him in months. He sound completely normal, his hair is growing back, and he is gaining use of his hands again. He is supposed to leave for a long-term care facility sometime this week. There is a possibility he could be staying at a place near St Luke's that is much closer to my house than Wheat Ridge. If that is the case, I will have to take on more of the support load in visiting my Dad. He is doing well emotionally as well. We had a nice chat with him and visited for over an hour. Caleb was initially scared of him but warmed up and even gave him a hug before he left. While we were there, a picture of my dad from my cousin's wedding was on the wall. Caleb would point to it exclaiming, "It's you Poppy! It's you!" My dad thought that was really cute.

We visited Heather's parents' house for dinner afterward. Caleb and I played dump trucks in the sand pile by Grandpa's shed. Caleb had a great time. Bryce was his usual self, eating and sleeping. He is getting cuter every day (as if the picture above wasn't enough of an indication).

Anyway, pretty good weekend. This next weekend, we are traveling to Nebraska to visit Allie and Jonathan for Labor Day weekend. I am ecstatic to be leaving the state for a few days. I think I need a trip like this about every year. We will be leaving Thursday afternoon and coming home on Monday. Allie is excited as well. I have never spent more than a day in the state, so it will be interesting spending the whole weekend there. I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

An update

It's update time again, seeing as how I didn't update the blog last week. Things are doing fantastic in DeShazer Land! Bryce turned 8 weeks old over the weekend, Heather is doing well, Caleb is as spazz as usual, and I'm busy but very productive and successful.

Last week, I went on a DJ gig with Ben Harris to Silverthorne. In the spirit of other DJ's who have been posting gig logs over the last year or so, I decided to do the same. Those videos can be found at my new YouTube Channel . So I love the camera, is that so wrong?

My Dad is doing significantly better these days. He's recovered from his latest round of chemotherapy and actually went outside for the first time in months on Sunday. He is continuing his rehabilitation and we all hope for his recovery and return home in the next few months.

Danielle gave birth to a little girl on Friday night. Mother and baby are doing very well.

That's all I have to say for now. See you next week.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

An Anniversary Post

Inspired by a similar post by my sister Danielle, I am now going to take the time to share with everyone a little FYI about Heather and I and our marriage. I will use the same questions found in Danielle's post and do my best to answer them in a creative fashion, making everyone chuckle to themselves in a light-hearted fashion.

1. How did we meet? We met in 1982 in a play group for preschool aged children in our ward in Arvada. I saw her playing with finger paints and knew then she would be the one for me. No actually I vaguely remember that play group, I was older than all the other kids including Geoff. I don't remember Heather being there.

My more significant memory of Heather was in High School. She was in my brother's seminary class and she was a sophomore at Arvada West when I was a senior. I always had a thing for tall long haired brunettes, and she certainly had an admirer in me. However, I didn't give it much more thought than that. Her best friend Stacy Masek (now Eaton), was in an english class with me, and I can remember seeing her waiting for Stacy after class. She was a hotty, in fact so much that I figured she was out of my league and she was only a sophomore anyway.

I remember Heather's Dad the most during these years. Russ was serving in the Stake High Council over Seminary and I remember having chats with him on numerous occasions as well as him subsituting for my class on a number of occasions.

Nothing really materialized until after my mission. My first memory of Heather was the Sunday before Christmas in 1999. Dylan and I went to the singles ward for Sacrament Meeting. I remember seeing Heather sitting a few rows behind me and was surprised to see her there. I figured she would have been married or near married by then, considering her natural beauty, personality and that she was going to BYU in Provo.

Heather went back to school and returned in the summer only to notice me and how much I had changed since I returned from my mission. Apparently, she had this enormous crush on me the whole summer and was afraid to talk to me. I started talking to her and the rest as they say, is history.

2. What was your ice breaker? For me I was genuinely interested in her, but I would have to say it was a youth conference that Heather was in charge of and the singles ward was assisting in. I remember having a chat with her for several minutes outside the Alkire building after eyeing her for nearly 3 months.

3. First Date/What did we do? December 22, 2000. We went with a bunch of singles ward friends on a group date to Dave and Busters at the Westminster Promenade. Heather and I played phone tag for almost a week before I finally asked her out. I knew it was different because I found myself wanting to take her out again after that first day, and I felt indifferent about other girls I had been on a date with previously.

4. Who kissed who first? I can take credit for this one. It was 4 days after our first date on her parents' driveway. We were freezing cold and I had kissed her on the cheek the previous night. She knew it was coming as much as I knew I was going to do it.

5. Who asked who to marry? This was all Heather. I think we had been together not even a week and she knew we were going to be married. She kept dropping hints before finally she asked me one night before I left her house whether I had given it thought. I told her I needed some time, thinking she would go to school and I would evaluate my situation with her. Her thinking was before she left for school. She asked me the next night if I had thought about it, and we decided then to get married, January 3, 2001. It caught me off guard at first, but I knew I made the right decision.

6. What do I love about her most/physical feature. Without a doubt, I married up in this category. Heather has some amazing eyes. They always caught my attention. I always have liked tall girls too for obvious reasons, and Heather has some really nice legs. I love it when she wears high heels. She has beautiful soft skin and a gorgeous smile.

7. What do I love about her most/personality. I think she's a great listener and problem solver. She has a great sense of humor and has a goofy side to her that comes out once in a while. She's incredibly compassionate as a mother and friend. She's incredibly loyal to people and keeps friendships with people from her early childhood to this day. She is also a great leader in her church responsibilities and is very dependable.

8. Wedding Date and Where? August 3, 2001. Denver, Colorado Temple.

9. How many lovely babies do we have? We have two boys. Caleb is 3 and Bryce is 6 weeks old.

10. Do we love each other more/less than when we were first married? When I think of all the unpleasantness that is associated with me and my personality and that despite that she is still around, I think we love each other more. It's certainly different than 7 years ago. We aren't as hands on affectionate as we were then, but we understand each other and know what each other is thinking, which definitely comes with time. It's a shame that so many people don't stick it out after the white hot flames of the newness of marriage die down, because it's the time after that that really shows the depth of a quality relationship. She knows all my secrets, and still puts up with me. It's pretty amazing.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Twilight Phenomenon and Edward vs Me

Every Wednesday night, I spend a couple of hours playing basketball at a nearby Stake Center in Denver. I get pretty beat up as I am getting older (30 now). I play smarter, but it takes me a little longer to recuperate than it did 3 years ago. Last night I came home close to 11. Heather had just watched our latest Netflix release received in the mail that day. The movie was "Penelope," a movie that she had heard good things about. Before I could ask her how the movie was, she turns on the DVD player and shows me a 3 minute clip that was on the DVD about the upcoming Stephenie Meyer novel turned movie "Twilight." She was so excited I she could hardly handle it. I asked her if she was aware that this was on the DVD. I should have known the answer, but she certainly knew and it was part of the reason she rented the movie in the first place.

I have never seen a healthy obsession from her like this EVER. When we first started dating nearly 8 years ago, I think it was safe to say that she was very obsessed with me (which is a really nice feeling by the way). When she gave birth to Caleb, she was very obsessed with him and taking care of him and committed to being a great mother (which she is by the way). Even with our youngest born not quite 6 weeks ago, it's her primary focus. However, I think the Twilight phenomena that has sweeped our household has taken the cake as her most insane obsession!

It was April of last year when Heather's sister Jocelyn told her about these books. I remember Heather's first reading and not more than 50 pages into the novel. She would pause and absolutely rave about the book, calling her sister in pure excitement. Within a week she had read the two books and anxiously awaited the release of "Eclipse." She found her kindred spirits online and began posting to forums devoted to Stephenie Meyer's books. One in particular that was set up for fans of Twilight who were also mother's (as a way of differentiating themselves from the more juvenile crowds at other sites). Heather found members who were here in Denver and has met with them at least two different times for an opportunity to hang out and be obsessed together.

The book releases for both "Eclipse" and "The Host" (Mrs. Meyer's first non-Twilight Novel) were the only times in the last year that Heather has voluntarily gotten up before 6 am to arrive at Barnes and Noble to purchase her copy of the new book, and for all of her friends that have become fans as a result of her evangelical preaching of the gospel of Stephenie Meyer.

Heather has met Stephenie Meyer twice at two different book signings in the last year. She gets together with other Twilight-ites and makes creative t-shirts, complete with quotes, funny phrases and creative designs. They proudly wear these shirts to the signings, to show their undying devotion.

What is great about this for the husbands of the Twilight-ites? Whenever we feel the need to go to Broncos' Training camp at 8:30 on a Saturday with my fellow broncomaniacs morning adorned in orange and blue, I don't look so bizarre to my wife anymore. Besides her excursions out with the ladies gives me a chance to do fun stuff with the kids and bond. That's a pretty sweet deal in and of itself.

Edward Cullen vs Jon-Michael DeShazer

The real question is this. If Heather had to choose between Edward Cullen or me, who would she choose? I think she would choose me for the following reasons, all things being equal and our children out of the equation. We will rank each other on the following areas, looks, kissing, cuddling ability and personality.

Kissing. Edward Cullen's lips are a hot commodity in a figurative sense, but a cold commodity in a literal sense. Making out with Edward would be like eating a raw steak that has been sitting in the fridge for 6 hours: Cold, a little too juicy and in serious need of 20 minutes on a barbecue grill.

I would win this battle also in the very critical necking department. My overall thirst for blood would not override my gentleness in kissing Heather's neck. I don't even like hickies, let alone break skin (Oops! categorize this in the TMI department)! Lastly, kissing me won't cause Heather to have a sudden thirst for the blood of humans; maybe a glass of water and a little air considering I take her breath away, but not blood!

Looks. As if this wasn't obvious already, but I am way better looking than Edward. First of all, Heather only goes for tall guys. I don't know exactly tall Edward is, but assuming that only a handful of people I know are taller than 6'5" I think it's safe to say I'm taller. Heather turned down shorter guys all the time before me.

Secondly, I don't have a blood-thirsty, disturbed and demonic look in my eyes all the time. Can you imagine getting family pictures with Edward?

Heather's Mom: "Honey, what's the matter with Edward? Was he sick that day? His skin is kind of pail and he looks like he wants to kill someone."
Heather: "Mom, he always has that look. Besides, I think the camera lense is a little defective. Edward dropped it in a fit of rage as Transylvania's soccer team was eliminated from the Olympics on TV."

Cuddling Ability.
I win this competition hands down. Here's an example. It's the middle of winter, 5 degrees outside, and 12 inches of snow and ice on the streets. Heather climbs into bed with numb feet from the frosty temperatures of our main floor with the electric blanket turned on. Edward climbs into bed with her to catch some shut eye. She rolls away from him to be spooned and to have a place to put her cold feet on him. Suddenly, a chill runs through her bones realizing she's touching the legs of a vampire who's body temperature is -20 degrees farenheit. She immediately pushes him away and proceeds to sleep with the blanket turned up to '11.' Watching movies would be out of the question, unless you like to cuddle frozen dead guys.

Admit it ladies, when it comes to finding the right guy you don't want some emotional recluse who distances himself from human contact because he doesn't want to fall in love and turn you into a vampire. Any woman who wishes their husband or boyfriend were more like Edward forgets the baggage that he comes with.

Can you imagine 10 years from now, Edward and Bella happily undead and married living in Louisville, CO with 3 little Eddie Munsters scurrying on the living room floor trying to bite the cat, telling you how they met?
Bella: "It was really quite romantic, I had just moved to Washington to live with my Dad, and he was this creep in my science class who was also a total jerk sometimes. But somehow I was captivated by him and wanted to get through his cold exterior and find the man inside. Fortunately, he saved me from a potential car accident and we've been happy ever since, except for that whole leaving me part in between and fighting werewolves."

Simply put, women go for the guys with a little stability in their lives. I am by no means the most charming person on the earth, but before there was Edward, there was me, and if he and I were to play basketball against each other, I would kick his butt. So there, undeniable proof and evidence why I am much more charming and that this infatuation with a fictional vampire could never replace me. Oh and there that whole he's not real and I am part of the equation that I never factored in. Sweet . . . . . .

Monday, July 28, 2008

Where on Earth did July Go?

July has come and gone already? Is it just me or does getting older accelerate the space-time continuum ? Another Monday is here and I am updating you all on another week in DeShazer history.

Like many of you, family visiting is always a huge part of summers. It seems for every person that visits, another comes a week later. And when you aren't being visited, you are doing some visiting yourself. This past week, my Dad's sister Krsten was in town after visiting Utah for the weekend. It was great to see her and fun to talk about all the crazy stuff I did to her as a teenager when I lived with her during the summer of 1994 as a goofy 16 year old. It's almost frightening to think was almost half a lifetime ago. We went to Papa's house for the get together. When we arrived Papa was about ready to leave for the airport to pick up Krsten. He had dinner in the oven heating up, and about 17 notes with explicit instructions on how to get dinner ready. Since he wasn't expecting anyone to arrive before he left, he proceeded to explain to me each of these notes. He went so far as to even explain how to use the satellite radio tuner to change it to a station of my personal preference. It was amusing. He is easily one of the most well-intentioned human beings I have ever met. As the time for Krsten's arrival approached, he left in a panic in hopes that he explained everything to me properly and that he would arrive at the airport in time. It was cute to say the least.

We had a nice dinner and visit with everyone, and it was nice talking to everyone about Dad's condition and their experiences visiting with him since he came out of his coma 2 weeks ago.

Heather and the boys were gone from Tuesday through Thursday. We had plans of seeing Allie and Jonathan in Nebraska over the weekend but they fell through. Annie called up Heather and asked her if she wanted to travel to Utah with her. Annie was heading out there for her grandfather's funeral. Heather jumped at the opportunity and was out the door at 7 am Tuesday morning.

My week while she was gone was productive and busy. I have nothing major to report other than that. I was glad to know she would be back by Thursday so I put my head down and worked on stuff while she was gone. Before I knew it, it was Thursday evening and I was up to Golden to pick up my family at Heather's parents' house. She had a brief but enjoyable visit.

Friday was a quiet. For some reason, I can't for the life of me remember what we did! I will change that as soon as I talk to Heather and ask.

Saturday morning, Dylan, Christian, Walker, Matt Anderson and I went to Dove Valley to watch Broncos training camp. This was the second time Dylan and I did this as we are hoping to start an annual tradition of a pilgrimage to Broncos Headquarters. We watch a lot of practice drills and Brandon Marshall came onto the sideline where we were. He has been in the news a bunch this off-season with some trouble with the law and a laceration in his forearm. Dylan blurted out to Brandon after an endzone drill "How are you feeling Brandon?" to which Marshall replied "I feel good." I spent the rest of the day hearing from Dylan how he and Brandon Marshall became friends (all tongue and cheek I promise). It was funny. There were a fraction of the people that were there last year. Matt and I took a bunch of pictures and had a great time. The sun wasn't as bad this time as last year, and we all stayed cool in the partly cloudy conditions.

After our visit to training camp, we all headed up to the Hospital to give dad a blessing. Dad is starting chemotherapy either today or tomorrow and wanted the extra spiritual support during this ordeal. We had a great visit with Dad and despite his circumstances has been very happy and pleased to see his family on such a regular basis.

Heather and I decided to head over to her parents' house that afternoon. Russ and I played the Wii for a few hours, distracting him enough to overcook the cheeseburgers he threw on the grill. I would like to say for the record that I beat him on Wii golf. We played a full 9 holes and I finished 1 under par and he finished 1 over par. It was a dramatic comeback by your's truly. I was down two strokes heading into the 7 hole. Russ thought he would try to be a little creative and go for the homerun ball on a sharp dog leg right to get it on the green on a par 4. He hit the ball out of bounds, costing him a stroke and then ended up triple bogeying the hole. I birdied the last two holes and pulled off the comeback. Now if I could only translate this into my real golf game! It was fun to look like I knew what I was doing on a golf course.

Sunday was another full day in A-Town (also known as Arvada). We spent a short time at the Harris' and then over to my family's house for Andrea's birthday party. My nephew Brendan was without a nap during our visit and was so sensitive. He would come to Andrea every few minutes absolutely balling. It was hilarious. He has a big mouth for a little guy, so big that when he opens it up his eyes disappear, much like an Anime cartoon character. More specifically, I was thinking of Spritle from Speed Racer (I couldn't find one of Spritle crying on Google Image Search unfortunately). We had cake and ate dinner. Dylan, Holly and Aspen attended as well and we had a great time together.

Whew! All done with this one. Have a great week.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Wild Weekend

Today is Bryce's 1 month birthday. I know it's not a birthday to celebrate necessarily, but man does the time go by fast! He has been going through a growth spurt these last few days. He will eat, fall asleep, and then wake up 15 minutes later, absolutely starving again. Heather and I knew he needed more food. Last night, he scarfed down 6 ounces of formula and didn't wake up once until I got up for work this morning. For all intents and purposes, he slept through the night.

Friday night, we went up to Arvada. Heather and her mom went to JCPenney to get pictures taken of Bryce and Caleb together. They then headed up to Arvada, and I met them up there. I had some business to take care of for an appointment I had the next morning, and then it was off to Ben and Annie's house for dinner. I was DJing a wedding reception the next afternoon, and was using Ben's equipment, so we needed to set up at the Quail Building the night before. It ended up being a pretty busy night. Heather and I headed home with the kids around 11pm.

Little did we know until the next morning, that Marzipan, our master escape artist of a cat snuck out last night and was caught in a rain storm. Fortunately, he was brought inside by our next door neighbor and kept dry and fed through the night. I was so bummed. This was my one chance to get rid of one of our cats and he came back! :)

Saturday was absolutely insane. I put in a full day of work and even saw my dad. It started around 10 am as I drove up to Arvada for an appointment with one of my clients. I finished there around 11:30 and headed over to the Quail building to DJ that wedding reception I set up for the night before.

Ben helped me out tremendously with the set up. I used my Macbook with some sweet DJ software and a 40 GB firewire hard drive full of music. The set up the night before literally took 15 minutes. It was pretty easy. I got there about an hour before the reception and met the parents of the bride.

The whole deal went very smoothly until about 45 minutes into the reception. The bride was not feeling well and literally had to sit out of the reception for nearly an hour. The reception went an hour over the original planned time and they ended up scrapping the garter and bouquet toss. I packed up my stuff and started to head to the car.

The equipment was more than I was used to. 4 speakers, a power amp rack, a mixing console, a box of speaker cables and a table to load the stuff onto. I opened the trunk of my car to find our baby stroller inside. I managed to get everything in, but I had to push the seat up all the way. I loaded the table and 4 speakers into the back seat, the power amp, laptop, and stroller into the shotgun seat, and the DJ mixing console and speaker cables into the trunk. My little 4 cylinder wonder got me safely to the Harris' house in 102 degree temperatures.

Lastly, before I went home, I stopped by the hospital to see my Dad who was awake and talking for the first time in nearly two months. We had an unforgettable visit. It was great to know how much he loved and appreciated me and the rest of my family. It's been a rocky ride for him the last several weeks and we are thanking the Lord for his blessings in allowing my dad to stay here with us a little longer. His recovery has made enormous strides, but he still has a ways to go. But we will be there for him.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Shane Wood Please contact me!

Shane Wood of West Valley City, Utah, you posted a message on my blog this week. Unfortunately, you left no way of contacting you. I would sincerely love to get in touch again, and not in that creepy McClellan sort of way. Please shoot me an email. I will gladly reply.

My car on Google Maps

Heather thinks I am a complete nerd for even thinking about this but here it goes. I was driving to the I-25 and Broadway Park-and-Ride a few weeks ago to go to my contract position downtown. While in my travels, I passed a purple Chevy Cobalt (pictured at right) with a Google Maps logo on the side and a camera mounted to the roof. It was a car driving through town aggregating pictures for Google Maps Street View. Feeling incredibly nerdy, I waited a few weeks and looked it up to see if my car was in there. Sure enough it was! It's certainly blurry, but you can tell it's my car. Little did I know I had been following the car for a few miles on the freeway, I am directly behind the car for several miles. So now that I have told you this amazing story, here is the link for your inquisitive minds.

Click Here!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bryce is off Oxygen! And some other ramblings for a Tuesday

We lost one un-welcomed "kid" this week in our family. It was the 36'' 20 lb, green painted steel child that was eternally tethered to our newborn son as his lungs figured out how to breathe well in our thin Colorado air. No funeral service is needed. He was heavy and not the least bit cute. The doctors this weekend said it was okay to remove the oxygen tank from our little guy Bryce. Heather and I were ecstatic. I think Caleb did a jig in the living room when we pulled it off. It's great to feel like you have a normal kid again. I hated telling people he had oxygen because they would get concerned for his condition and it wasn't serious. People tend to forget that we live in a high, dry climate that is not conducive to developing lungs. He was probably okay 3 days after we took him home, but it took a while for Apria to get a respiratory therapist to our house.

On Friday, we as a family decided to see WALL-E. Caleb has been pretty good at the theater the last few times and we all wanted to see this movie. Caleb would spend an inordinate amount of time at my laptop every day asking to watch WALL-E movies on it in the days preceding our trip to the theater. He was referring to the movie trailers that you can stream online. We stopped by and grabbed some fast food on the way to the theater.

As we arrived, I parked the car and ate my food while Heather and Bryce went in. Caleb had fallen asleep in the car, which gave me enough time to eat. Heather called me and told me that the movie wasn't 5 buck club eligible, even though it said so in the email. She argued that it was and eventually the girl at the counter gave Heather a student discount. Well when I came in, they charged me full price and charged Caleb as an adult (that sounds funny)! So I went to the manager and got his price reduced. The movie was about ready to start or otherwise I would have brought up the whole 5 buck club thing as well.

The movie was AMAZING! Probably one of my favorite Pixar movies of all time. It was different, but so unique. It had a really great story that caused me to get choked up at several moments. It was a fun movie for Caleb too. Heather really enjoyed it as well, but not as much as I did. If you haven't seen this movie, you need to. It was probably my favorite movie of the year.

So I sent my complaint into Kerasotes on Saturday morning, explaining the situation to them. They replied with free movies passes for all the hassle. That made me feel better about the whole ordeal.

Sunday night was fun. We went to Heather's parents house for a little dinner and relaxation. They are planning on building a house up north toward 88th and Indiana. They showed us the lot and described the plans for the house. It sounds like it will be a great place. The view from their lot was really nice as well.

Yesterday I had the honor of a jury summons. I got out of work around 11:30 and headed over to the Arapahoe County court room. I didn't get selected and was home after a 3 hour wait. I am so glad that doesn't happen all the time.

Last night we went to Olive Garden with the rest of the family. Mom received a nice gift card from some friends in her ward and she took us out. I brought the video camera and recorded a video that we are going to give to Dad in the near future. Everyone had wonderful and insightful comments to tell Dad. I was a little sarcastic when I said that, because there were some strange things that came out of some of my family members. We had a good time and I as pleasantly filled.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Heat of Summer

It's one of the funniest things I have observed about human nature. This week our dear city is supposed to reach record high's in temperatures. Yet, I hear the same people who complained about below zero temperatures complain about sunny and warm weather. I suppose there is one thing that never changes; pessimists are always right.

This week was a little more normal. Bryce is growing in leaps and bounds. After being born at 9 pounds, he lost 6 ounces his first 2 days and left the hospital at 8 pounds, 10 ounces. Heather brought him in for his weekly visit to the pediatrician this past Wednesday, only to find out that he weighed in at 10 pounds, 4 ounces. In 9 days, he gained more than 1 1/2 pounds! He's doing quite well. He still is wearing oxygen, but without the necessary equipment to test his oxygen levels, we haven't been able to see if he needs it still or not. I think he's okay. I look forward to not lugging around that oxygen tank everywhere.

Thursday we went to the movie theater to see Kung Fu Panda. I thought it was very funny. Caleb had a great time. Heather bought two HUGE jugs of soda and lemonade to wash down our garbage bag full of popcorn. Caleb kept drinking and drinking. Unfortunately, we had to make an emergency run to the bathroom with less than 10 minutes in the movie. I literally held him and ran back into the theater so we wouldn't miss any more of the movie. He thought that was hilarious. He among several other small children in the theater made us all laugh with his boisterous laughter. The best was at the very end of the movie as the credits began rolling on the screen he declared as loudly as possible, "Again! Again! Again!" indicating his desire to see the movie as if it was at home on DVD.

Friday was a fun day. Caleb and I went to the Hudson building for pancakes and a 4th of July celebration. At right is a picture of Caleb actually eating his food. I was so surprised, I had to take a picture.

We went to my parents' house that afternoon and the off to the Stenger complex for fireworks. I attempted to take some pictures of the fireworks, but what was more amusing was Ben Harris getting tackled by Sam, Deeny, and Caleb for about 30 minutes. Ben and Annie decided to join us to see us and have our kids run around together. Brendan and Lilian were there as well and were thoroughly enjoying the large field and were tempted to leave on many occasions. Brendan took off during the fireworks display and Walker retrieved him about 200 feet away.

The worst part of the trip? Easily the drive back. The fireworks display ended around 9:45. We had to walk back to the car, and load everyone in. We left about 10:15. We didn't get onto the freeway until 10:45 and didn't get home until 11:15 pm.

It was a long day, but easily a fun one. Caleb was so excited to see fireworks and was a delight to see his reaction to each colorful explosion.

After the last couple of weeks, we literally vegetated on Saturday and Sunday. It was nice to rest and relax after the baby's birth and the crazy holiday weekend.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

July is already here

It is Tuesday. It has been ten days since we became the parents of another new baby in the family. Bryce is doing wonderfully. It is now time to give you a recap on my previous week since I last posted.

Heather and I spent the entire weekend at the hospital. Monday was the longest day. Heather was done and was released early in the day. Unfortunately, Bryce had some testing to do still. His oxygen levels were dropping periodically when he slept. Even though he was 99% okay when it came to his breathing, there was a tinge of uncertainty in the nurses. We had a choice, either leave him in the hospital for another day or take him home with a tank of oxygen. We chose the latter. As a result, we are carrying our baby boy and a tank of oxygen everywhere. Brett and Jocelyn came into town for the weekend to see the new bundle of joy. Heather really appreciated their visit.

I took Tuesday off as well before returning to work on Wednesday. It was nice to sleep in a little and relax after a busy weekend. Our ward hooked us up big time with dinners for the next week. It was so nice having leftovers in the fridge. With our little family, dinner rarely has leftovers, but this has not been the case this week. I have been treated to a cornucopia of delectable casseroles, entrees, salads and desserts this week. My waistline thanks you.

Bryce is easily the best alarm I have come across. Almost like clockwork, he wakes up between 4:30 and 5 am for a feeding. The problem is, this is about an hour before I get up. I should probably just get up and start my day early, but I stay in bed. Heather feeds him, but having the light on and all the activity in the room, I find myself taking a great deal of time to fall asleep again. Even though I went to bed at a decent hour, I still feel as though I had about two hours of sleep the night before.

All in all, being a father for the second time is absolutely wonderful. There is something so special about having a small newborn child in the home. It's wonderful to come home after a long day to my ecstatic son Caleb tackling me as I walk in the door, and to be able to hold Bryce and take care of him for a little while. It's one of the things I look forward to most on a daily basis.

Next on the list of things that happened in the last week. My dad is getting slightly better. His body is and has been cancer free for several weeks now. Unfortunately, a severe case of bacterial pneumonia has entered his lungs. The doctors are trying to evaluate what antibiotic to use. Fortunately, he's been able to wake up a little and even talk to my mother a time or two. It's been great for my mom to talk to her husband for the first time since May. We have been praying for him in hopes that he will recover to full health soon.

This has been incredibly difficult on my mother despite her stoic exterior. It is frustrating for her to be at church on a given Sunday over the last few weeks to have someone come to her and in an innocent attempt to express their support and concern for Dad, talk about how awful it is that he's going through this and in a way, say the wrong things to my mother. The best way of supporting her and anyone else in a stressful or traumatic episode of their life is to focus on the positive and be encouraging.

Things are great. Our family has been brought closer together than ever before, and have felt the assurance that my dad time hasn't come. This has taught us to be patient. I keep having these dreams that he's out of the hospital and okay. Hopefully that is a sign of things to come.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

It's a Boy!

It's been approximately one hour since the newest member of the DeShazer family came into the world. Bryce Russell DeShazer was born at 4:15 am this morning. Heather was AMAZING!
Here's how our memorable night began.

6:15 pm: Heather's craving spicy food. Apparently this helps encourage contractions. She's been dilated 50% for two days now, and we haven't successfully induced her pregnancy up to this point. Denise has been over all day helping clean the house and re-arrange pictures and make our house look like the Taj Mahal on a budget. The place looks great. Off to Lowe's we go to get a stud finder to hang a mirror in our living room.

6:30 pm: Mmmm . . . Taco Salad at Qdoba. I know it's a Chipotle rip-off, but if Chipotle sold something other than just enormous burritos, I would frequent that joint more often. Heather buys a burrito the size of my Toyota with habanero pepper sauce on it. We pick up one for Denise as well, that was so large, they had to double wrap it. I go out to my car and pick up a dolly to tow these things in. I hope the suspension on my car can handle the extra weight. And, how ironic I'm the only guy and the one ordering the salad. As we get into the car, my blackberry belt clip breaks. This is the third one that has broken on me since I got it. Ugh.

7:30 pm: The mirror is hung in the living room and we've eaten our dinner. Half of the two burritos are still not eaten. They break the shelves in the fridge as we put them in there. Okay enough big burrito jokes for one evening.

8:00 pm: Just on a hunch, Caleb goes to Grandma's (Denise) house while we try to initiate the birthing process. Heather and I go on a walk alone for the first time in years around our housing development. No new contractions quite yet. Heather listens to my ramblings about work, business and just being a complete nerd.

9:45 pm: We start getting ready for bed, hoping the contractions will start sometime early in the morning. Heather is on the phone with Annie, and then it happens. Contractions begin. We grab our stuff and jump into the car. I wanted to use my blackberry to send text messages, but I can't remember where I put it in the car! Oh well, there are more important things to worry about. Heather is soothed to the sounds of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Soundgarden and Radiohead on XM Radio as we head up to Wheat Ridge.

10:15 pm: Heather and I are frantically calling everyone to tell them we're on our way to the hospital. This is the one time I'm hoping I get pulled over by a police officer. I have always wanted a wife in labor in the driver seat to get out of a speeding ticket and get a free police escort down I-70. No such luck.

10:45 pm: We arrive at Lutheran Medical Center. I drop Heather off at the front door and leave. Just kidding! What kind of father and husband would I be if I did that? I actually did drop her off though. I had to park the car and bring our bags of toiletries, cameras, my laptop, and everything else we needed for the delivery. I have everything in my arms and begin the 1/2 mile journey from our parking spot to the delivery room. It was like walking in the casinos in vegas to go to a convention, only to find you literally have to walk halfway across the the world through the casino floor to get to the convention hall.

11:15 pm: I finally arrive to the delivery room. Heather is doing well. She's dilated 7 centimeters and still no broken water. She's comfortable and handling these contractions really well. The nurses are surprised she hasn't used any painkillers. Then, as I am getting stuff organized, I hear, "Honey, did you grab the toiletry bag?" D'oh! I didn't. I couldn't find it in the car. However, I turn around and make the incredible journey to the car to get that bag. The journey almost required me to camp out halfway into the parking lot, but it was late already and Heather needed her stuff, so I sucked it up and journeyed into the night.

11:30 pm: I return with the toiletry bag and my missing blackberry that fell in the back seat of the car. Happy day! We are anxiously awaiting Heather's water to break. I amuse myself with clips from Saturday Night Live on my laptop while Heather and Denise chat.

12:00 am: I've been up since 6 am this morning, so I drift off to sleep. I have a pillow that I rest my head on.

1:00 am: I wake up with my head leaned over to the left all the way. No new progress yet, but man is my neck sore!

3:00 am: I wake up with my head leaned over to the right all the way. I seriously can't move my head for at least 15 seconds. I finally lift it up. Heather gets checked by the nurses. She's fully dilated but her water hasn't broken yet. We decide to expidite the process. We walk around the floor of the hospital. Heather gets a contraction and uses a side rail to hold onto while she squats. We're hoping for a good push here.

3:45 am: She's tired of this whole water not breaking business. She calls the nurse who comes in and get's the job done. Immediately some more intense contractions kick in. She goes almost immediately from a 7 to a 10 and she feels the urge to push. Doctor Besch to the rescue!

4:15 am: After three really brief yet solid pushes, We have ourselves a baby. She did it without the use of a single drug. No epidural, no topical anisthetic and no novacaine shots. Bryce has a HUGE head and enormous shoulders, and he isn't breathing. The umbilical cord was tight around his neck. I cut the cord and the nurses immediately give the boy oxygen. He starts to make a little noise within a few seconds. Within a few minutes he begins breathing on his own. His face is bruised and battered. They weigh him on a scale. 9 pounds even. 9 pounds! almost a pound bigger than his big brother was.

5:00 am: I meet with the doctors as they check his glucose levels. They put a dome over his head filled with oxygen to help him breath better. He starts to wimper and really cry for the first time! Then he starts to pull off the dome from his head. Did I mention that this dome is weighted so he can't move it? This is no ordinary child however. This is a 45 minute old NFL linebacker! I hold the dome over his head while the doctors prick his heel to test his glucose levels. Most baby's cry when their heel is pricked, not my junior Dick Butkus! I could almost hear him say to the nurse, "I had a cord wrapped around my neck, and a bruised face from being born, do you think I would cry over a pricked heel?!" I imagined him already mercilessly beating up his 3 year-old brother when we bring him home.

5:15 am: I tell Heather and Denise of the great news. I begin sending out text messages to all my friends and family. I'm so wired I can't sleep anymore. Heather on the other hand looks exhausted.

All in all, it was the most amazing thing I've ever seen. When that child comes into the world, you can't help but get a little teary eyed, and feel incredibly grateful. My wife is the most amazing woman in the world. I am so proud of her. No meds, and not even a peep when she pushed. The nurses were shocked. Heather used her hypno birthing techniques and she flourished. For those expectant mother's out there, I highly recommend this method. Anyway, it's nearly breakfast time, and I'm tired. More to come.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Happy Belated Father's Day!

Okay, so this was a crazy weekend. It was one of those where you don't really feel like you were able to relax at all. It was great however. I can't complain.

Friday was an insane day. I've been contracting for a Natural Gas company for the last 12 months, and Friday we had to move about 30 users' computers into new cubicles. The last two times we did this, we weren't able to start until after 2pm, making for a long day that would end late Friday night, and required us to come in on the weekend. Fortunately, we were able to start earlier, and we were finally done by 6 pm. My day was far from over, however.

I was doing a PA gig for a WFG event the next day. As a result I had to set up the night before and make sure everything was working. But before that I needed equipment. I drove home, grabbed my gear, put it in the car, drove to Arvada, picked up my Dad's speakers, drove to Ben's house, grabbed some long speaker cable, and drove to the Hotel in Westminster. I got there around 8:15. I set the equipment up successfully and got back to Ben and Annie's house around 10:15. I ate dinner finally and hung out until about midnight.

Heather, Caleb and I got home around 12:45 and I went to sleep. 5 hours later, I was up and on my way back to the hotel for the event at 6:45. Things went very smoothly and it was a great deal of fun. I ended up needing only my dad's speakers, which worked very well. There was a group of people in the next conference room that complained to us numerous times about the noise we were generating. It was amusing. The hotel had to move them to a different location in the hotel after 2 hours of whining to us.

We wrapped up right at 4 pm. I was out of there by 4:15, which was a record for me cleaning up after a gig. I drove to the Harris' again, and then over to my parents' to drop off all the stuff I borrowed.

Heather had a grand old time at her baby shower over the weekend at Maria Adams' house. She received several items that register high on the cuteness scale. Her due date is a whole 8 days away. I can't believe how fast time goes by during a pregnancy. I am sure she feels differently.

Father's Day was pretty cool, literally. Russ and I watched the US Open this weekend while I froze under an A/C vent blowing directly on me. It was weird because it was in the 90's outside during this time. Gift's were fantastic. Heather spent a little cash and bought me an iPod Nano! Holy crap! I was not expecting that! It was nice. I was watching "The Simpsons" on it it within minutes. It was quite nice really.

It was fun, it was busy, and I was tired. But it was a good weekend.