Friday, May 30, 2008

Eye update

Just so I don't have to repeat this information a million times, here's the update.

I saw another ocularist (prosthetic eye maker) in Salt Lake yesterday. I just wanted to get a second opinion on my eye as I'm so disappointed with it. She felt like I was definitely justified in my concerns. It really is the wrong color, the outer ring really is too wide, it isn't aligned correctly, it's too small, and there really isn't enough sclera (white part) next to my nose. She said that the surgery part looks like it went well, but the prosthetic is a failure. She was also much more compassionate than the guy we previously worked with, and seemed to see me as a person, not just another case.

Though I'm extremely disappointed that I really did just get a bad deal, I do feel better knowing that I'm not just being overly sensitive like a lot of people have been telling me (if I hear "I can't tell which eye it is" one more time I'll go crazy!). She feels quite confident that we can at least get the eyeball itself to look exactly like the other, and that with a surgery on both my eyelids I should be a more satisfied.

So for right now it looks like I may be cancelling my appointment to get work on the eye done next week. I'm doing this because it's super expensive to do, and apparently I'll need a brand new eye after the surgeries anyway, so it seems ridiculous to pay so much in our situation where my insurance doesn't cover prosthetics . These eyes are not cheap. The woman I saw yesterday also wants to give me a discount in exchange for using me in advertising---which seems like a great situation, because if she's advertising with me I assume she'll do her very best work. So we have a lot of phone calls and decisions to make, but that's the update for now.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

One of the dumbest things I ever did

I was talking to my dad the other day and told him a story about what a couple friends and I did when we were in high school. Looking back I can't believe how incredibly stupid and risky it was for us to do what we did. It's funny how as a teenager you really just can't see consequences very clearly. Anyway, here's the story. The people in it are pictured above from left to right: Michelle, Bryce, Ashleigh (not in the story, but still in the picture), Lee, and me. I think I have the story right, but it has been ten years (yikes! we're old), so, Lee & Michelle, let me know if I'm wrong.

This must have happened during our junior year. Michelle, Bryce, and I were in Bryce's van at the Phillips station getting gas and there were two empty parking stalls in front of us. One of the stalls had what looked like an empty paper bag in it. A car full of seniors guys that we knew pulled into the stall next to the bag. One of them got out, picked up the bag, got back into the car and drove away. We weren't stupid. We were 90% sure that the bag contained drugs. Any normal person may report it to police or just let it go. But not us. Our gas was done pumping and
we were in hot pursuit. We followed the car through the back roads of Lehi for a really long time. They must have known we were following them because they kept trying to lose us, but we kept finding them. At one point they threw the bag out of the car. We of course stopped to retrieve it. We threw it in the van and then continued the pursuit. I don't remember who opened the bag, but I do remember that it took quite a while for one of us to get enough courage to open it (and all the while we were still following them)! We opened the bag and it contained......(drum roll please)......some stale carrots! True story. But it doesn't end there. At that point we rallied and decided to go switch cars and pick up Lee (I think). So we got in Michelle's big white boat of a car, got Lee, drove back to the southern most parts of Lehi and amazingly found the car again. Michelle continued following them, and at this point I'm guessing it has been well over an hour that we've followed them. The height of our evening occurred when they drove into a dead end and turned their car so that they couldn't help but see who their followers were. All of this time we had not considered what would happen when we caught up with them or had to face them. All the while we're facing the immediate need to flip a U-turn in a huge car with these questionably drug-using senior boys waiting for us.I will never forget crouching on the floor
of the car with Bryce. Michelle was screaming "What do I do? What do I do?!" And Bryce yells back, "I don't know what you're going to do Michelle, but you better think of something, and you better think of something fast!" That moment really is one of favorite memories from all of high
school. Michelle did the only thing one can do when coming to a dead end. She slowly, slowly did a three-point turn, which inevitably was five- or six-point turn because of the size of her car and narrowness of the road. The whole time the boys are sitting there with their headlights on our car. I can just see it from their point of view with Michelle, frantic, white-knuckled, and white-faced and the rest of us wimps safely tucked nearly underneath the dash and other chairs. And we drove home. And that was that.

So I told my dad this story, and couldn't believe how stupid we were. These boys obviously had picked up drugs (though what a weird way to distribute them). It couldn't have been anything else. I don't have a lot of experience with drug users, but I'm willing to bet they were ready to fight for the drugs or to protect themselves. I don't think they got a glimpse of who was following them until the end, so they must have been pretty scared. I also remember that when we found the carrots we didn't consider that perhaps they were NOT the original contents of the bag. And I think it is so weird that we were able to leave and switch cars, come back and pick up where we left off. We NEVER considered what we would do if they stopped to confront us. We never even had a clear goal of what we were trying to accomplish in the first place. I guess that just shows that even though we thought we were in an elite group in school, and more intelligent and thinking than a lot of our counterparts, we were still just stupid teenagers who weren't thinking and could have gotten in a whole lot of trouble.

So there's my story. I guess if that's the worst of it I'm pretty lucky :)Think about the dumb things you did when you were a teenager and didn't think ahead about the consequences. Maybe post them on your blog so we can all laugh too.

Friday, May 23, 2008

More Potty Success!

I'm sure all of our MANY readers will thrill to hear this news...however if you aren't a parent yet and you are not yet surrounded by constant talk of diapers and potties and other such delightful things, you may want to skip this post. Claire has now worn her panties for almost the entirety of the last three days. We started telling her we were busy when she asked us to change her diaper. After a couple times of waiting 4-5 minutes she has started to think it may be better to just use the potty. We even went to two stores yesterday and a restaurant today (to celebrate her success) without a diaper on. She even asked to use the potty at the restaurant.

It has been fun to see her gain confidence and figure out how to do all of this. She does a great little "potty dance" and so do we :). She's been great at getting to the potty every time, except tonight when she ran to go and we discovered that we had forgotten to put the bowl back in her potty after the last cleaning. She had a tiny tiny tiny accident and cried so hard. It nearly broke my heart to see how upset she was.

Her little chart is filling up fast, and the rewards are definitely encouraging her. Because last night she finally managed to do #2 (maybe that's TMI?) we got her the bathroom set for her dollhouse(with a toilet AND a potty chair and tub and vanity) , and my parents got her the living room set, complete with a mommy dog and four puppies. For some reason this has all been terribly frightening for her, and she's been so brave. This is definitely progress, and perhaps we have bought her last box of diapers---yeah!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

On Mother's Day

Well, it’s Mother’s Day and I need to pay tribute. I have been surrounded by some of the best mothers in the world, especially my wife. Jac is the best person I know and I am forever grateful to be sealed to her for Time and all Eternity. I have several goals in life and I have managed to accomplish the most important one—marry someone who is out of my league. I’ve clearly married up and am thankful for that every day of my life. My wife is probably the toughest person I know. She has been through many trials in her life and has consistently found ways to improve herself through those trials. I have always viewed trials as evidence that God sees us as worthy to prepare for exaltation, and Jac has been a constant strength through the trials our family has faced. It makes it easier when I recognize that we are being prepared for Eternal life—together.
Some lyrics from one of my favorite songs have always intrigued me:
I've never been the praying kind
But lately I've been down upon my knees
Not looking for a miracle
Just a reason to believe

I love those lyrics because I think that all of us are looking for a reason to believe. Even though I do view it as a miracle, the most obvious reason for me to "believe" is my family. Nothing keeps me going the way my family does.
In the last few years I have seen my wife take on the role of mother. She is amazing and I could not fathom a better mother for my children. She is kind, patient, and loving toward Kyle and Claire, even when we experience the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. It has been Jac’s dream to be a mother. People often encourage her to write a book or do other innovative and impressive things, but for Jac all these things take a backseat to being a mom. I know she will pursue those things later in life (and have no doubts that she will accomplish them), but for now she just wants to be a mother. Considering all of her accomplishments in life, that is amazing.
People often tell us how lucky we are that our kids are so good. It baffles me that people seem to miss the obvious—we have great kids because they have a great mother. I took some time this week to sit down and think about my life and all of the blessings I have received, and it became obvious that I am a very lucky man. I have beautiful kids and I am married to the girl of my dreams. Five years in and I can say—unequivocally—I would do it all over again because any trials we face together have been worth it. Jac, I love you, and I appreciate everything you do as a mother to hold this family together. Forever.

Happy Mother's Day

There are four days of my life that would fit into "Best Day of My Life" or "Most Pivotal Day of My Life." They are: the day I won Miss Utah, the day we were married, the day Claire was born, and the day Kyle was born (pictured above at the moments I first saw them).

If I got to choose to re-live two days of my life, I would choose the day my children were born. (Only beating the wedding day because we get to kind of re-live that every time we do sealings---and it was really, really cold. Although significantly less painful than childbirth when I think about it...) Anyway---even though I'm only 27, I've got to do some really cool things in life. I spoke at my high school graduation, I won a couple pageants, I competed at Miss America, I've done a lot of things with organ donation and other community service opportunities. I've been a lot of places and met a lot of people, but the experience that I treasure most is that of being a mother. Being Miss Utah was great, but I'd give it up in a heartbeat for my two babies.

Today in Church a sister announced her latest pregnancy as "a promotion at work." And my "work" certainly has been interesting since Claire was born. I've never been more bored or more busy. I've never been more challenged or more care-free. I've certainly never been as good at coloring before.

I have never felt more deeply about anyone or anything since my two "co-workers" joined my life. They have taught me about the love of God. They have helped me understand the love that my parents must have for me. They have taught me why it is important for families to be together forever. They have shown me unconditional and unfailing love. They have brought out sides to me that I never knew existed. (For instance, I DANCE to "Popcorn Popping" almost daily---sometimes even with the curtains open!)

I admire Claire's sensitive soul and empathetic disposition along with her zaniness and interest in life. I was so stressed out during Kyle's pregnancy that I thought for sure he'd be a high-strung demanding baby, but he is constantly happy and smiling and ready to roll with any punches we send his way (figuratively, of course). Just one dimpled grin from either of them sends me over the edge with happiness and gratitude that they are mine. I am so glad that I am a mother. And I am so glad that I have a husband who supports me in my desire to be a full-time mom. His sacrifices are not un-noticed although they are often un-thanked (there's probably a better word for that).

However, as wonderful as I have made motherhood seem, there are days when I am certain I (or my children) will not survive. And sure enough my own mother is there to rescue me. Whether she is here in person, on the phone listening to me complain, or the voice that I hear in my head, my mother influences my life daily. I may have said this many times before, but it bears repeating: I need my mom more now than I ever have before. I don't think parenting ever ends; there will always be more life situations for which I will need guidance. So, thanks mom! And thanks also to Taylor's mom who is also always there for us and helps out at the perfect time in unmeasurable ways.

So Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers reading this. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication. Now lets all go have a nap.