Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wood Badge

The last two weekends I was up at Camp Tracy in Millcreek Canyon for Wood Badge. To be honest, as I was packing the first Wednesday, I was not terribly excited and was pretty anxious as I didn't know what to expect.

As I got there and went through the orientation and met my patrol, I still wasn't quite sure what to think about it. Those people who know me know that I am pretty reserved and it takes a while for me to warm up to new people. Anyway, I think that is the reason that by the end of Thursday, I still wasn't quite comfortable and wasn't enjoying Wood Badge that much. I called Stacey that night and expressed those feelings to her.

However, over the course of the Friday activities, something must have changed, and I don't even know exactly what it was that changed my attitude. Friday night, I was feeling much more comfortable with my patrol and was enjoying Wood Badge so much more. By the time Saturday was over, I was kind of sad about leaving.

The next Wednesday when I was packing and getting ready to go back, Stacey said to me "You're excited to go back, aren't you?" I said "Heck Yeah!" The second weekend up at Wood Badge was awesome. There were a lot of team building activities, and we had so much fun and learned so much.

The beauty of Wood Badge is that not only do you go and learn all the great lessons, skills, etc. But then you come back and apply it by "working your ticket." It gives you the opportunity to apply the lessons that you learned and to help improve not only yourself but your family, scout group, work life because of what you choose to work on.

Another thing that was so amazing was our patrol. We were quite different in personality and abilities, but we came together so well. I was truly sad to say goodbye to them and am looking forward for when we can get together again. We were the Bear Patrol, so we each came up with bear nicknames for each other. Friday night we had our campfire. We had a good sized fire, and we just sat around the fire talking until about 11:30 at night, at which point 3 of our patrol went to bed. The other 4 of us stayed up until almost 1:00 AM, then finally decided to go to bed. What a fun night of talking and getting to know and understand each member of the patrol even more. That definitely helped our patrol grow even closer together.

I would recommend Wood Badge to anyone. There are a lot of Scouters that I serve with who haven't gone, and I want to get as many as I can to go. Wood Badge is hard to explain why it is so awesome, it's something that you just have to experience for yourself. What an opportunity to develop your knowledge, skills, and an amazing relationship with other Scouters.

If you have gone to Wood Badge and have anything to add, please do so in the comments.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Bountiful Triathlon

Well, Stacey and I had made a goal this year to do a triathlon together. Stacey hadn't done one before, so we found a smaller one and decided to do it. Last Saturday, we did the Bountiful Triathlon at the South Davis Recreation Center. The distances were Run: 3.25 Miles, Bike: 10 Miles, Swim: 350 Yards.

My training this year has not been nearly as good as last year. I think I lost some of my motivation. When we went to Steamboat Springs, neither of us exercised at all and we did not eat good at all either. Combine those two and it is difficult to be ready for a triathlon a week later. I decided that if I was going to do the triathlon, I better at least train hard the week before. So I went on a couple of runs and swims and a bike ride the week before.

The weather forecast for the race predicted rain. I was not excited at all about that. When we got there and were getting set up, it was raining pretty good. However, once the race started at 8:42, the rain had stopped and the weather was good from there on.

This triathlon had the run first, so that they could start everyone at the same time and not have to worry about separate waves in the pool. I have mixed feelings about that. Lately, my left knee has been hurting me when I run, so I was kind of glad to get that out of the way. But I think one of the reasons that the swim is first is because it requires the most preparation.

I started off the run fast, passing a lot of people. I think it is just my way of trying to get out of the crowd. I don't like the huge crowd at the start of races. However I think I started too fast and I could feel the effect of not running much recently as people were passing me quite a bit near the middle/end of the race. I was very glad to have the run over with.

The bike was what I was looking forward too. I started off quick, and sure felt good as I was able to pass a lot of the people who had passed me during the run. In fact, I figured out that I passed a total of 63 people while not getting passed by anyone (2 relay teams passed me, but I don't count those - they didn't have to run). The bike leg sure did seem to go by very quickly, though it took longer than the run.

I got back from the bike, ran to my transition area, tore off my shirt, shoes and socks and started running towards the swim. It wasn't until I got to the pool that I realized that I had forgotten my goggles. Crap! I decided that it would take longer to run back and get them than to just swim without, so I dove in. Their plan to spread people out using the run and bike only worked to some degree. There were still a lot of people in the pool and I kept bumping in to people and hitting people, probably more so because I couldn't see. Despite the fact that I was swimming without goggles, I was mostly pleased with the swim.

Here are my results:

Run (3.25 Miles) - 28:52
T1 - 1:11
Bike (10 Miles) - 29:40
T2 - 0:58
Swim (250 Yards) - 8:14

Total - 1:08:57

My goal was 1:10, so I came in under my goal. Overall, I was 95th out of 370. In my division (Clydesdale - Men over 200 lbs), I came in 5th out of 24. Looking at the times of the top 3, I was only about 3 minutes out of the top 3. Seeing that has given me motivation to improve. There is another small triathlon at the Rec Center on Labor Day, and I am going to train hard for this one, and I am determined to improve. Hopefully, if I improve enough, I can crack the top 3. Hopefully I don't train so hard that I lose enough weight to not qualify for the Clydesdale division! :)

The week before the triathlon, I had to do quite a bit of convincing to get Stacey to even compete. Due to Steamboat Springs, she did not feel ready. However, she did it and is glad she did. She was most nervous about the swim, and was nervous that she would come in last in the entire race. I assured her that she would not come in last and that she would be able to complete the swim, just to take it at her own pace, and if she needed to rest for a bit, do so.

Her results are as follows:

Run - 33:29
T1 - 1:42
Bike - 39:03
T2 - 2:23
Swim - 14:20

Total - 1:30:59

She ended up 298th out of 370 overall and 36th in her division of 49. She was pleased with her time as her goal was 1:40. However, she wishes that she had gone a little faster on the run or perhaps one of the transitions so that she could have gotten under 1:30. For her first one ever, I think she did a great job. Like I told her before the race, "For your first one, it doesn't matter how you place, but that you finish," which she did. I am very proud of her and hope that the triathlon bug hits her and she works towards doing another one.

All in all, it was a good race, and a great course with one exception. The road where the bikers left and returned had to be crossed by everyone coming out of the transition area running to the swim. I heard that there were quite a few close encounters and even a few crashes due to this. They should have planned that a little better and perhaps had the transition area located somewhere else.

My one complaint about the organization of the triathlon was the transition area. We got there at about 7:30, and asked how the tranisition area was organized (by number, by category). We were told that it was not organized at all, that you just grabbed a spot. Looking around, there was not a lot of empty spots, because people had taken up so much space. They should have done that better. Also, the transition area had very little security. Anyone could walk in and out as they pleased. Luckily, I didn't have anything stolen, but it could have been without much opposition.

I am motivated now to train even harder and work towards improving. I guess I just needed a little competition to wet my appetite.

Here are some of the pictures that we took (and my mom took) of the triathlon as well as our future triathlete!

Steamboat Springs

We went on a family vacation to Steamboat Springs, Colorado the last week of July. We had never been there before, but we wanted to try it out since it was close enough to drive to (6 hrs) and looked pretty fun.

Anyway, we had lots of fun and the resort we stayed in was very nice (Thanks, Mom & Dad). The kids liked being able to watch TV as they fell asleep on the sofa bed. They also really like swimming in the resort pool and the "Hot Pool" which we did every day. Here's also some pictures of the drive.

Here is some other activities that we did in Steamboat Springs:

We went on an Alpine Slide, similar to the one in Park City. The kids liked it, but because we had 3 kids and 2 adults, we were only able to go 1 adult and 1 child at a time, so it took a very long time. We had lots of fun, though.

We went miniature golfing, played tennis, hiked to Fish Creek Falls, then went to the bottom of the falls and let the kids play in the water. One night, we went for a drive on a mountain road. It was a beautiful drive. A few of the things that we saw are in the picture below.

We rented some bikes and went for a bike ride one day. There is a very nice bike trail right along the Yampa River. We rode up and down that, stopping at one end for a little snack and to allow the kids to play in the park. Nathan ended up falling asleep on the way back.

Along the bike trail, there is a botanic park. We stopped there and walked through it and took some pictures.

Friday night, we went to a rodeo. It was really cool, and the kids enjoyed it. After the women's barrel racing, they had some young girls come out and do it as well. There was a 6-year old that was riding a huge white horse with blinders on. You can see it in the picture below. That was very funny to see those little girls riding such big horses. In the middle of the rodeo, they had the children in the crowd who wanted to come down and chase a calf with a ribbon on its tail. Aaron decided to go down and try it out. He was competing against 12-year olds, so he didn't really have much of a chance, but he still had fun running around out there.

One funny thing we saw was on the road. They are doing some construction on US-40, so they had painted some temporary lines. Notice how crooked and wavy they are. It was funny to follow these lines along the road.

It was a very fun vacation, and we sure did enjoy spending time with each other. I would highly recommend Steamboat Springs as a good vacation spot. There's plenty to do (lots of which we didn't have time to do, or couldn't because of our children's ages). The drive wasn't too bad (about the same as to Yellowstone Park for us), and we'll probably go back some day.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Father's Day

I had a very good father's day. Stacey and the kids woke me up singing "Daddy's Homecoming" and carrying breakfast on a tray. Stacey had made a new french toast recipe along with sausage and eggs. It was very good.

Then they had me open my presents. Kaylee had found $0.96 in the car, so she put it in a little box and gave it to me. The next present I opened was the Big City Slider Station. Now, to completely understand how funny that was to me, you have to understand my children's TV viewing habits. Kaylee and Aaron love to watch Qubo, which is broadcast locally 24/7 on digital channel 16-2. They watch it a lot. It's not one of the big local stations, so they don't have a lot of commercials, so they run lots of mini infomercials. Kaylee has most of them memorized she has seen them so much. So when I open the present, she says to me, "Look, it's from Billy Mays!" I would never have remembered his name, but she knew it right off. As a side story, one time Kaylee came in to Stacey with a pad of paper. Listed on it were all the phone number for the various products advertised in the informecials. She said, "Here Mom, just in case you want to buy any of these, here are the phone numbers." We laughed for quite a while about that one. Anyway, I'm going to make some sliders tomorrow for dinner. We'll see how it goes.

Then, Stacey gave me her present. It was a big fleece blanket made out of BYU material. She had cut strips all the way around and tied knots in them. She said that Aaron helped make the entire thing. Kaylee tied one knot, didn't like doing it, so chose not to continue.

Both Kaylee and Aaron also gave me notes and cards that they had made for me expressing their love. I am very grateful for my family. I have the best wife and kids ever! They are very thoughtful and loving. It was the best father's day I've ever had.

We gave the same blanket to Stacey's dad and my dad (they both have chosen the good side and also cheer for BYU). Actually Stacey did it all because she didn't want me to know about the blanket. So I didn't know what I was getting my own dad for father's day until that morning.

Here's a collage of our father's day:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wood Flooring

Stacey and I decided that we wanted to replace the linoleum and carpet in the kitchen/living room area with laminate wood flooring. It just so happened that Costco was having a sale on their flooring, so we decided to take the plunge and buy it. Then came the installation I do it myself or pay someone to install it. The cheapest labor would've cost us $2.00/sq. ft. for a total of about $600. That's a lot of money, so we decided to try it ourselves. I did a lot of research online on how to do it, called the manufacturer for tips, and then we started. I concentrated on doing it right, now worrying about how long it took me. I would rather sacrifice a little bit more time than regret a mistake or incorrectly installed flooring for years to come.

Honestly, the hardest part was the prep work. We ripped out the carpet, pad, and tack strips fairly quickly, but then began ripping out the linoleum and the sub floor underneath it. That took a bit longer. I took one day off from work, and we were able to get the whole thing ripped out and prepped that day. We started the next day to lay it down. It was pretty easy to lay it down, just lay it down and snap it together.

Overall, I would do it again any day in order to save $600. I took some pictures of the installation and finished product. You can see the album here:

I realize that I took a lot of pictures, but you don't have to look at them all. I forgot to take some "before" pictures, so I included a few pictures that I have taken in the past that happen to be in that area, so you can get an idea of what it looked like. Just ignore the people in them. :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Aaron on Studio 5 - video

Today was the big day, and Aaron was very excited. He came down with Stacey and Kaylee and I could tell he was a little nervous. We took him in and he met Brooke and Darin, and I think that helped him so he wasn't quite so nervous. They told him what they wanted to do, and he drove around a little bit to practice.

Anyway, here is the video of him on the show:

Download video

Here are a few pictures that I took:

He did a great job, and sure did like doing it. Way to go, Aaron!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Aaron on Studio 5

Tomorrow, Aaron is going to be on Studio 5. About a week ago, one of the producers asked me if he would like to come on and drive one of those mini electric cars. It's not going to be a lot of TV time, but it should be fun nonetheless. Watch for it tomorrow - Studio 5 is on from 11:00 to 12:00. I will try to get some video from it and get it posted after the fact for those who can't watch it live.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Solution to the problem

I have found a perfect solution to a problem that many Americans face. In fact, even the federal government faces this problem: debt.

Here's the solution:

My favorite line: "And where would you get this saved money?"

Friday, January 23, 2009

Aaron's Sentences

About 2 weeks ago, Aaron's kindergarten teacher sent home a note that said that he was having a hard time keeping his hands to himself. This frustrated me, as we have had similar problems with him in Primary. We have talked to him, and he should know better, but somehow, the urge gets the better of him. Anyway, the note from school somehow reminded me of a time I got in trouble in 5th grade and my punishment from the teacher was to write 500 times the sentence "I will not shoot spitwads in Mr. Aswad's class." My parents decided to add on to the end of it "or anywhere else." I have to qualify this by saying that I was normally not a bad kid in school, but we had a substitute, and a bunch of other kids were doing it, and I succombed to peer pressure. :(

Anyway, I decided that I would try a similar punishment with Aaron. I had him write 20 times the sentence "I will keep my hands to myself." He wrote them and returned the paper along with the note signed by us to his teacher. Since then, we have had him write a few other things. When he doesn't listen and obey, we have him write "I will listen to and obey my mom and dad." He's had to do that a few times. I spoke with his Primary teacher after church and she mentioned that she needed to take him out during class to talk to him about keeping his hands to himself. So after church, he came home and wrote 30 times the sentence mentioned above.

I hope it is an effective punishment. I don't want a punishment that he is willing to take, because it won't make him learn. Writing sentences is something that he definitely doesn't like doing, and sometimes we have to just put him in his room with no distractions and let him write. I guess only time will tell whether it curbs his habit of playing and bothering other kids.