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William has a tooth

December 16, 2007, 11:35 pm - James Farrer

It's official, William has his first tooth.  His front bottom right tooth is the first to come in.  His other bottom tooth is just behind it. He is also well on his way to becoming mobile.  He has been up on his hands and knees quite a bit lately.  He is starting to get his legs going back and forth but more often he starts rocking and scoots his legs up. He is rocking and rolling, or rather falling with a bit of a roll to his back.  He can't roll from his back to his front yet, but his is not letting that stop him.  When on his back he does these funny little crunches while trying to see and sit up.  One of these days I'm sure he'll figure out that it works much better to roll to his side first.  

With Christmas almost a week away we're getting excited for the break.  I've got a bit of vacation saved up and with the way the university holidays stack up, I'll be taking 2 full weeks off.  We are going to drive to Colorado Springs via Cheyenne for the holidays.  I am very excited but am also a little concerned about how I'm going to fare for that long without concrete plans.  I usually don't do to well without something to be working on.  I'll have some video games and am sure I'll work on the website stuff some more.  We'll see how it actually unfolds.  It might be just fine.  I know we'll have some good times with Shauna's family.  They are wonderful.  I'm most worried about the days while they are at work.  Whatever happens, I think it will be a good chance to round out my life.  I seem to be doing a lot of working and then coming home and doing stuff on the computer.  I've been spending many evenings playing with Abby and Will, but haven't had as much going when it comes to being constructive with my time.

I think there are a couple of factors that come into my lack of constructive activities lately.  The biggest factors are money and space.  Money is tight right now.  We have enough for our needs and are working to pay off our debts, but it doesn't leave much for recreational activities.  The other issue of space is an interesting question.  Part of it has to do with the fact that many of the activities that I would like to be doing are best done in a working area like a garage.  The train layout fits into that category as well as working on the truck/bike/etc.  We have a little space in the office area, but it's very cold this time of year.  We've got a space heater, but we've also got a lot of stuff in there and it's not well organized.  It might be a little easier if we had some shelves to organize on, but that goes back to reason #1 of my challenges.  Crystal should be moving out in the next month or so and that should let us move William into Abby's room and maybe I'll be able to stake some claim to that part of the room if Shauna's scrapbooking doesn't take over the space ;-).

So anyways, there's a bit o my musings about what to do recently.  My mind seems to always be going and sometimes it's challenging to be proactive about keeping it busy with productive things.  C'est la vie.

Holiday Musings

December 16, 2007, 11:33 pm - James Farrer

The holiday season has a way of making people think and reflect.  That is when they aren't running themselves ragged anyway. With little money to spend shopping or otherwise I have found myself thinking a bit about how I'm keeping with the holiday season.  I have been enjoying Christmas music, both at work (I have my own office now so I can put music on) and at home.  We have had a few family home evening lessons about why we celebrate Christmas and reading the Forgotten Carols (a good book with music that goes along).  We even drove down to Temple Square in Salt Lake to see the Christmas lights that they put up.  It's quite an amazing display.  I especially enjoyed trying to take pictures of the lights.  We'll see if anything turned out really well.  It would be easier to either see the lights with family or take pictures, but both provides a challenge.  I still enjoyed it though.  All in all, it's been a good season so far.  I think overall I am just not one to get overly excited about anything.  I suppose that is both blessing and a curse.  But that's a topic for another time.

I read a blog of a friend of Shauna's about Christmas goodies from/for neighbors and it's had my mind going.  Since we got some tonight I thought I'd put my own two cents in.  So for what it's worth, I think it is a sweet but ironic tradition.  I truly believe treat giving started as an honest gift to a neighbor and in most cases remains that today.  The ironic part in my mind has to do with the social pressure that comes from such gifts.  i think it may be worse in the predominantly Mormon neighborhoods that I've always lived in, we seem to always know our neighbors more than in some neighborhoods.  But then again, I haven't been in any other neighborhoods to really have much experience.  Regardless, there seems to come with such goodies a great deal of obligation.  I like to give goodies and I like to receive them as well, but sometimes, especially with the limited resources at my disposal, this seems like a great deal of burden which dampens the giving and receiving a bit.  

For example.  When our neighbors give us a plate of cookies it creates an implied (or is imagined a better term for it) obligation to return the favor.  To receive a gift without returning the favor would seem ungrateful, would it not? And then there's the task of keeping track of who to give them to.  We need to give them to friends, neighbors, and the more challenging list of those who give them to us when they may not necessarily fit into the other two categories.  While this is usually not because we don't like them, in fact it is more a matter of limited supply, it adds an extra bit of stress to whole process.  

Another interesting aspect of this whole goodies giving business involves actually eating them.  Both sampling those that you make to give away and then those that you receive.  The blog I read about these goodies talks about the less desirable plates that are sometimes received.  Overall, I find the selection tasty and colorful.  But the whole business over the bigger pictures contributes a large amount to the nations obesity epidemic I am sure.  But it's only once a year right? Either way, I don't think it will lessen the amount I will eat, but it can be a scary thought if you think about it too long (not recommended, try something more construction, like learning about Bernoulli's principle and how it applies in your day to day activities.  OK, I know I'm a geek, but at least I enjoy it).

I don't know that I really have a point to writing all of this other than it has occupied a disproportional amount of thoughts.  So whether you plan to give for the sake of giving, succumb to the social pressures of reciprocal giving, or just have an over abundance of goodies in the kitchen right now.  I hope you enjoy activities. 

Prayer of a Child

December 4, 2007, 6:41 pm - James Farrer

Abby was being her usual independent self tonight and would not come to dinner.  It wasn't worth fighting her at that point so we let her play.  She came to the table just as we were finishing and wanted us to say a prayer for her.  I told her she had to say her own.  After a little bit of going back and forth on the point she finally conceded and started saying her barely audible prayer.  She was cute as can be with her arms folded and head bowed.  The part that really did it in was her request for "help to save the day".

William was also being a very cute little guy tonight.  As we were getting dinner ready he was sitting in his high chair and watching me very intently.  When I would look at him and smile he would break out with a huge grin.

Kids are great! 

Thanksgiving reminder

November 19, 2007, 2:06 pm - James Farrer

So it's been a little while since I've posted anything other than pictures and even longer since I posted something substantial.  With Thanksgiving this week Ive been reminded of many of the blessings that I enjoy.  So maybe I'll catch up a little this week since it's Thanksgiving and I took the week off.

It's been a busy summer with William's birth and everything else.  And as if that weren't enough to keep us busy there was a job opening in the OIT Communications and Training office (a department that I have worked with in the Service Desks).  As I considered the job I was really torn.  In some ways I am very much still at odds, and if I have time I'll get to that later.  The position was for a technical trainer (more or less) and would be involved in training other computer support personnel and working on some project teams for communications and as a sort of user advocate.  The challenge I ran into was that I really liked a lot of what I was doing.  It was challenging because I was being overworked and doing a lot of things that should have fallen to other (sometimes non-existent) positions.  I had learned to delegate to my students well and I feel like I ran an efficient and enjoyable office.  For the most part the students that worked for me really enjoyed working there (which is saying quite a bit for a call center).

This new position offered some new opportunities to be involved in teaching new technologies and taking a different and perhaps less stressful approach to things.  It also offered higher pay and a potentially more manage workload.  

I applied, was offered, and accepted this new position after a lot of struggling with the decision to try something new.  I very much liked the troubleshooting and many other aspects of the Service Desk job, but higher pay and less stress finally won with the opportunity to try some new things out.  

The new position has been good but has come with a challenge.  I suppose anything new has its challenges, and I expected them, but they still need to be worked through so here I am workingĶ

Just before I started the new position the responsibility for the ticket system that we use was moved over to this new office.  Since I already knew a great deal about it, I was a natural fit to continue work with it.  It has been interesting since we are trying to decide on an upgrade path and many people seem to be looking indirectly at me for an answer.  I am trying to figure things out and I think I am doing a good job, but it has left a lot of unknowns since it has consumed much of my time and it is yet to be determined what kind of long-term commitment this will mean for me.  

I have been involved with a number of project teams and havent had much time to spend on actual training activities (which is what my job description says I should be doing).  Our department is also taking in a new group, the campus computer labs, and we will potentially be splitting some of the responsibilities of this group between us.  

All in all, I have very little idea of what Ill actually be doing in 6 or 8 months.  Im not too worried about it, but looking at the long term I hope this move will be good for me.  As an IT jack-of-all-trades I find it challenging to figure out what work I want to be doing long-term.

~~~

On the home front we have been very blessed to have William and part of our family. He is a wonderful, happy, and healthy little boy.  He has lots of smiles and is very tall (100th percentile) for his age.  It is interesting to look at him and see so many similarities to what I used to look like.  Many people comment on how similar we look. I hope I can be a better father for him than mine was for me.  

Abby is talking up a storm and is smart as can be.  Seeing the differences between her and William is interesting.  Abby loves to sing, dance, play with puzzles and just generally be involved in everything that is going on.  She is amazing at coloring.  In nursery where most kids are doing good to put the crayons on the paper and scribble random lines, Abby very methodically colors in the lines.  

While its more challenging with two kids to do personal things, I enjoy playing with them and watching them grow.  



~~~

So some other interesting things that have happened lately.  My mom was sealed to Brent this last Saturday.  As part of that I was able to play photographer which was fun. I was telling Shauna how I wouldnt mind doing that a little more officially just for fun and experience. Crystal had her graduation ceremony for cosmetology school.  Shes still got a week or two left to finish her hours and then shell have to take the test to get her license.  Well see how much longer shell be staying with us.  She hasnt decided where shell stay and when shell get there.  Ive been released from my calling with the scouts but will still be working in the Nursery.  Its fun, but interesting having been in there as long or longer than many of the other workers.  At least it keeps me awake.

So thats about it for now.

Uploading Quicktime Movies now works

September 20, 2007, 10:35 pm - James Farrer

Quicktime movies are now allowed in both single file upload and bulk photo upload.

Riding together

September 20, 2007, 8:37 pm - James Farrer

Shauna and I finally got a chance to go riding together.  We rode up to Cascade Springs with Gene (one of my co-workers).  Pictures can be found here.


Bulk Photo upload is now complete

August 16, 2007, 10:13 pm - James Farrer

It should be a lot easier to transition now that I have the bulk photo upload feature in place.  It should be fairly easy to move albums over from the current site.

William James Farrer

June 18, 2007, 9:21 am - James Farrer

William was born on June 14, at 11:55am and  was 8 lbs and 21 inches long. Photos can be found here.

Enjoy!

Excellent Quote

May 6, 2007, 11:14 pm - James Farrer

Total effort is total victory.
~Ghandi

Finally Graduating!!!

April 20, 2007, 11:03 pm - James Farrer

So there is officially 6.09625 days left until graduation (I have a count down timer) and I am excited.  All of my homework is done and I have two finals left, neither of which are worth stressing out about.  I believe I have all the other paperwork and stuff taken care of so now I will take one final tomorrow and the other on Monday.  So close. :-)

So as I'm graduating I have been reflecting a great deal on various issues in my life.  I have put a lot of thought into what direction I want to take my career in the long term.  I have a good job right now, and I don't have any immediate plans to leave, but still, graduating opens up the possibility should I choose to.  In talking with Dr. Helps, the Department Chair of the IT program and my capstone advisor from last year, he said I have a lot of very good experience for just graduating and am in an excellent position should I choose to "go out into the world".  I think his thoughts were fairly accurate. 

Working full-time while taking many of my IT and business classes has given me the ability to apply the course material in a very direct way.  I think this helped me get a lot more out of the coursework.  An example of this is a marketing project that I just did.  I was able to use a service that we could start offering in the next year or so and assess what would be good to do to market the service.  In comparing with the average salary of IT graduates from BYU, I could definitely go out and make significantly more, but there is a great deal of stability as well as good benefits here at BYU.  Oh well, I'll be here for a little while at any rate, and it's good experience.



I've also been thinking about what I'm going to do with the extra time I have now that I don't have to do homework.  I'm not sure how much I'll really have when it comes down to it since there's a little boy that will be born before too long and I may be doing some programming work on the side to earn a little extra cash.  But on the off chance I can really find a few minutes to call my own, what should I do with that time?

I've got a few hobbies that I've tinkered with over the last few years.  Model Trains, model plains, web sites, and the motorcycle.  I'm planning on doing at least a little more riding, but I don't think that'll be my sole use of the time, especially when weather doesn't want to cooperate.  The model train stuff is fun, and I'm looking forward to continuing with it at some point, but we don't exactly have a good place for it in our apartment.  Model planes are good for a few hours every once in a while, but unless they are the flying kind (which I can't really afford right now) it's not the greatest long term solution. 

So I've thought of one thing that I might do, though it seems a little daunting since I am so out of shape.  I really enjoyed playing indoor soccer on my mission.  There is a place not too far away that has leagues that I could join.  It would give me a chance to get some much needed exercise.  I'll have to look into this option some more.

Any other suggestions? I've got one more idea, but that'll come in further down.



So here's another question on my mind.  I have some very loving and generous family (and I greatly thank you) that have given me graduation gifts.  Most of these have been monetary and when put together, add up to an amount of discretionary cash that I don't think I've ever encountered.  So with this in mind, I have been considering both the general idea of how to use it and a few specific things I could do with it. I have been looking at a few different options in particular but am still open to suggestions.

The first thing that I thought of is a lock box for my motorcycle.  If you don't know what it is, you can go here to see a picture, it is the black box on the back.  There are several brands that offer lock boxes, though BMW's is the most tempting because it is designed specifically for the bike and has a support bracket that goes with it.  The down side to BMW's is the cost; it is the most expensive one that I've seen.  It would have the benefit of using the same key as the bike ignition.  There are other boxes of various sizes, I think one even had a bracket, but from looking online it's difficult to know of the quality and without a reinforcing bracket that I know is specifically for the bike and well built, I don't know that it could handle the weight of a passenger leaning on it as it should. 

~On a side note, I just got a call from Jason and found out that they just had their baby.  It was 7 lbs 9 oz. ~

The next option is something that I've been wanting for a long time but has always been very cost prohibitive.  It is a digital SLR camera.  I have enjoyed photography as a hobby since my parents gave me their Nikon F-20 35mm SLR camera in junior high.  It's a nice camera and takes great pictures even still, but with how much I do on the computer, film just doesn't cut it for me any more and the camera has not been used much lately. 

When I first started looking at digital SLR's, they were in the $1000+ range for just the cheapest Nikon camera body.  They have come down in price a great deal.  I think this is a good option because it can be used with a much more family oriented approach as well as on my own.   I already have a great zoom lens (coincidentally a high school graduation gift from my parents) that I could use with the camera and an external flash that should be compatible.  And while they may be questionable in the eyes of an experienced professional, from what I've seen they take fantastic pictures.  I think I would enjoy this a great deal and right now is the direction I'm leaning, but that is still subject to change.

I have also thought of a couple other options such as getting a small sailboat (of the used, 2 man, fit into the back of the truck variety) or maybe some kayaks, but that is a relatively recent thought and I haven't developed it much.

So, there are the options so far.  I would like to use the money for something that would last a bit and be a benefit to have.  I have been gathering feedback and am still looking for more, so if you want to chime in, please do so.  You can email me at ourpage@byu.net.

I guess that about sums up my thoughts for tonight.  Enjoy!

General Conference

April 12, 2007, 11:14 am - James Farrer

So while we were enjoying General Conference a few weeks ago Abby made a great observation when she said that Daddy is watching the "movie with the grandpas in it".

New Background Image

March 21, 2007, 10:48 pm - James Farrer

I made a collage of pictures of us that can be used as a good background.  It can be found in Photos --> Backgrounds --> collage.

Abby Picking Up Rocks

March 7, 2007, 9:45 pm - Shauna Farrer

Yesterday while we were walking across campus Abby saw some rocks and was very excited about trying to pick them up.  To her astonishment the rocks would not come up! They were really part of a textured pavement.  She finally got back into the stroller to continue on only to try again at another section of pavement a short ways further.  She was met with the same result.  "Mommy it's stuck!"

IT'S A BOY!!!!!

February 2, 2007, 3:57 pm - James Farrer

We had the ultrasound today and it's official we're expecting a boy! We're really excited.  I'll post the pictures as soon as I can.

Baby #2 and My Last Semester!!!

January 10, 2007, 8:49 pm - James Farrer

I'm very excited to be expecting our second child and to be starting my last semester.  The baby is due on June 19th and as with Abby we will most likely not find out whether it's a boy or a girl. It's exciting that way.

It's almost 8 years since I first started college and it's finally down to the last bit.  YAAAAAYYYYYYY!!!! It'll be a tough semester with lot's of class time during the day which makes work difficult.  Hopefully the classes won't be too bad. 

The good news is that we hired a person finally so I won't have to "fill in" quite as much so I should still have a little more time to do what is actually part of my job. 

What's New

New Recipe

A new recipe, Fried Sprite Chicken, has been added
July 14, 2016

Lots of new photos

Photos for the last 2 years have been added.


December 10, 2015

New Recipe

A new recipe, Dr. Pepper Beans, has been added
October 25, 2015

Almina Slaydon Slideshow

Highlights from the Almina Slaydon pics


October 9, 2014

New Recipe

A new recipe, Filling Chicken and Rice, has been added
September 3, 2014

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