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He's here!!!!!

December 24, 2008, 12:24 pm - James Farrer

Alexander Zethan Farrer was born Christmas Eve at 6:58am. He weighs 8 lbs 6 oz and is 21 inches long. Both Alex and Shauna are doing great!

Photos + Kids = Oi!!!

December 6, 2008, 12:24 pm - James Farrer

We took pictures of the kids today. Great Grandparents sent nice clothes and we've been wanting them so it worked out to be a good time to do it. We found a nice spot and then struggled to get Abby and William to sit still and smile at the same time. We took a lot of pictures. In the end it took some bribing and pleading but they both smiled and I think we got something good enough to work with. Overall I can't complain. It took some working and by the end they were a little tired but it didn't take too long and it was a pretty good experience.

Now to think, we're planning on taking family portraits after the new one comes along...

One more funny

November 22, 2008, 9:00 am - Shauna Farrer

We're trying to teach WIlliam to sleep on the lower bunk bed since number 3 is almost here. It works out anyway since he can climb out of his crib anyway. But, he usually rolls out of bed between 3 and 4 am. Then I go rock him and put him in his crib to finish the night. I really have every intention of getting a bed-rail thing that keeps him from falling out. But, last night when I was rocking William, the pregnant belly starting punching William with a vengence. Apparantly number 3 didn't like being woken up and squished. I hadn't really noticed because he's the busiest little bundle of pregnant belly I've had yet and I'm used to it. But last night, William got tired of it and suddenly sat up and glared at my stomach. I totally had to laugh. Sibling rivalry or something like that starts young.

Sploring

November 22, 2008, 8:41 am - Shauna Farrer

We were running errands yesterday and we were near our old neighborhood, so I told the kids we were going to stop by and see a friend and see if she was home. It turned out she wasn't, so we went sploring as Abby said it. We looked at the new houses that were up, and looked around the neighborhood and then I was done, but she wanted to do more sploring. So we went up and down every little side street getting out of the neighborhood. Finally, from the back I hear, ok mommy, when I say 'let's get out of here, then we need to go to the store.' Ok. So another street or two and she was having so much fun until she pointed one way and said it was time to get to the store soon. I told her the store was the other way and she was convinced we were lost. So, then the magic words came, "Ok mommy, let's get out of here." OK. So, I started towards the store and she was still lost and told me I was going the wrong way. Who's driving anyway. I told her no, and started pointing out landmarks we see on a weekly basis, and then she felt better.

William has learned to unzip his pajama's. He doesn't know how to zip them up though. He unzips to his waist and then runs around like that. It reminds me of those men who have a button or two undone, and there's chest hair peeking out.Then to top it off, he likes to put toys in and out of the pajamas which always get stuck in his feet and he has to dig them out. The other night he dropped a globe from Abby's doll house in and was searching for it. James laughing started singing, "He's got the whole world in his pants, he's got the whole wide world, in his pants..." Oh the funnies when trying to get ready for bed.

Oh the things children say...

November 20, 2008, 11:58 am - Shauna Farrer

I love how kids keep you hopping (most of the time). Sometimes I will take a shower while William is sleeping and Abby is watching cartoon or playing on the computer. Today she knocked and asked if she could shower too. Who is going to turn that down? I had an opportunity when I didn't have to fight her to take a bath. I said yes. So she hopped in, I finished shaving and got her cleaned up. While I'm turned around,

Abby pops up and says, "Mom, you have a big botttom!"

Thinking to myself, Thanks a lot!. Out loud, "I know honey, I hope it disappears when the baby is born."

Then I turn around and almost smack her with my pregnant belly.

"Mom, You have a big belly too!"

Thinking to myself, Ya think! Out loud "I know honey, that should disappear when the baby is born too."

I hop out of the tub to go get dressed while Abby finishes soaking in the shower. From my room I can hear...

In a sing-song voice "Big butt, big belly, big butt, big belly..."

In a child that would be a few years older, they would be teasing me. But she was just singing in the shower. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I hope she doesn't bring it up again. And on second thought, I think I'll make sure to shower on my own for awhile. It might be worth the fight to clean her up later. :D

Naked Bum Run

November 19, 2008, 6:36 pm - Shauna Farrer

Abby has just turned 4, and it's amazing the difference in attitude between 3 and 4. Most of the temper tantrums have ceased and I can explain things to her and she helps me all the time. But, every once in awhile we have a day where I swear she's reverted back. The last two days have been major temper tantrum days. Due mostly to her little brother who turns on the light at night and keeps her up. She needs a lot more sleep at night than he does and she hasn't been getting it. It shows. Which reminded me of my favorite temper tantrum about 5 weeks ago. She was out playing with the neighbors and I warned her that she had about 15 minutes before we had to go change for dance. It's been cooler with the fall weather and the kids weren't used to the change yet. They all wanted to set up the slip-n-slide. I told her she could, but that she didn't have time to change into her swimsuit. I told her to just get her clothes wet and then we would change into dance clothes. Well, that didn't fly apparantly. She asked 2-3 more times to change and I kept saying no, not only because of the time restraint but because William was taking a nap in that room, and he had been out of control. Finally, while I'm talking to a the neighbor kids mommy, Abby disappeared. I noticed after a few minutes and yelled for her and she didn't appear. I yelled again, no show. So I went to investigate. To my surprise (I know, you all aren't surprised) she was butt-naked and hiding behind a playhouse so I couldn't see her. I asked her to put her clothes on and go inside. It was time to change anyway. But it was two major blows. She didn't want her clothes on and she didn't want to go inside. She lost it, big time. So, I started to put her clothes on for her. I managed to get her underwear most of the way up, but I couldn't bend all the way down to her, and she was hysterical. She suddenly jumped up and started running (there's no way I was even going to try to catch her at 6 months pregnant).  But the funniest part was that Abby never stopped to finish pulling up her underwear. She just made a mad naked dash around the house. I was laughing so hard I just let her run, I figured she would come back. And she did emerge on the other side of the house and had somehow magically managed to pull her underwear all the way up. So, I don't know how much of the neighborhood she flashed before she ended up on the swingset, still hysterical. But, it took me a few minutes to stop laughing so that I could finish disciplining. Hence the name, the naked bum run. Must have felt nice in that nice cool fall air!

**HELP** Name Poll

November 11, 2008, 10:02 pm - Shauna Farrer

Ok, there is one more thing for the day. I mentioned that I only have 6-7 weeks left of pregnancy and we can't decide what to name this kid. There are names we like, but nothing that is like za-zing. So, we're taking a poll. Here are the names we like, please tell us which ones you like and what order we should use them. There are no guarantee that we will use any given suggestion, but it would be fun to have some feedback. The only name that I feel like I should preface is Zethan. We found it in the Old Testament, he's one of Benjamin's grandsons and we like that it is different and similar from Ethan, but we're not sure about it as a first name.

First name options:

1) Alexander

2) Logan

3) Adam

 

Middle Name Options:

1) Alexander

2) Zethan

3) Adam

4) Jason

 

Or, If you have any other recommendations, we're taking suggestions.  Thanks Everyone!!!!!

X-Flies

November 11, 2008, 9:45 pm - Shauna Farrer

So, I spent part of August, and all of September and October canning. That is where I disappeared to. I didn't clean house, I didn't cook, I just took care of kids (kinda) and did a ton of canning. We have Apricot Pie filling, whole tomatoes, diced tomatoes, pears, peaches, apple pie filling, a TON of jelly and jam, a Ton of Applesause, and salsa. I made it that whole time without fruit flies. It was amazing and I was counting myself lucky until the very last week of October. Every day since then there are 4-6 flies around my house and they are driving me crazy!!! Mostly because every single day I kill 4-6 and the very next day there are 4-6 more. So I came up with a hypothesis. I think they are X-Flies. Just like certain X-Men who have regenerating powers, I'm totally convinced that these little stinkers can survive any kind of death and come back to haunt me. I'm going to find their weakness, one of these days.

 

In other news, here are the rest of the pregnancy pics that a few have requested.

http://www.jamesandshauna.com/photos/farrer/2008/09/photo_fullsize/7858.jpg

6 Months

 

http://www.jamesandshauna.com/photos/farrer/2008/10/photo_fullsize/7805.jpg

Ok, starting to feel crappy. Can anyone tell? This is desperate mommy at the end of the day with no makeup. This is a good day because I got a shower and I got dressed. I think church is the only place I wear makeup at this point. I just don't care. I want to sleep.  This is 7 months and I feel like a freight liner. Now I'm down to 6-7 weeks or so. I can't wait for this to end. I'd rather be sleep deprived with a newborn everytime. At least I can breathe and bend over. Although, I do have to admit it's cool to feel the baby move.

I usually make something for each kid. This little boy is getting my first attempt at a quilt. This is the top, though my mom picked up the finished product from the quilters last week and says it is amazing. So, when I get it back I'll post that pic, but for now, here is the topper.

http://www.jamesandshauna.com/photos/farrer/2008/08/photo_midsize/2594.jpg

Alright, I think I got most of my thoughts out. It's time to sleep.

Horsing Around

October 27, 2008, 10:10 pm - Shauna Farrer

My cute family!

Shauna's version of July

October 24, 2008, 9:54 am - Shauna Farrer

So, in James blog, he already posted about his trip to Gillette, Wy. He and my dad both have BMW motorcycles and they went to a BMW motorcycle rally and had their boy fun. The kids and I went to Cheyenne and spent time with my grandparents and my mom and sister. My highlight was being able to go to Cheyenne Frontier Days...Finally. I always used to go as a child, but I haven't been in 10 years or more. So, i took my kids.

James, Mark (my dads friend), and my dad.They were in 4 states in 4 days. They would go on a different ride everyday. They drove into WY, then visited the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore, Custers Last Stand, and a few other places. I'm glad they had fun.

Their campsite in Gillette. My dad's bike is on the left, and James on the right.

The kids and I saw a lot of horses...and cowboys....and more horses

A lot of grandparents, Abby is just starting to figure out which grandmas are which.

And we did a lot of driving! But we made it and it was fun. The only pictures I don't have are from the Taylor Swift and Rascal Flatts concert my sister and I went to. That was my fun!

And last but not least, a pregnant picture. This is 4 months.

 

Update from Shauna

October 24, 2008, 9:12 am - Shauna Farrer

So, I really just don't get around to keeping my blog updated. James is awesome at it. It's a kind of stress relief for him. My kind of stress relief is either talking to someone on the phone or scrapbooking or sewing or something. So, sorry to all those who even check to see if I've updated anything. It's not because I don't ever log in, it's because I find it so much more entertaining to chec k everyone elses blog, and by the time I'm done the house is in shambles and I have to go separate the kids before a serious injury occurs. So, here are a few pictures from the last couple of months.

In June we went to see Grandma and Grandpa Rucker in Colorado. That's where we cut William's hair and had his first birthday party (one of 3).

 One of my favorite things to do at home is watch the sky, it's always amazing!

 

William learned how to get into the tub by himself. It was nice of him to make sure his clothes and shoes got washed.

Will got 250 of those Chuck-E-Cheese ball pen balls for his birthday. The kids both loved it.

 

Abby at the Denver Zoo.

So, there's our excitement in June. I'm just going to do brief updates for the next couple of months worth of stuff.

So what do you do?

October 22, 2008, 10:45 pm - James Farrer

I find it somewhat entertaining when people ask "What do you do?" I think most of the time when people ask questions like this they don't really want to know the answer.  When I was living in the Baltics an interesting difference between american culture and eastern european culture became very apparent. When americans ask you how you're doing they seriously expect you to say good, fine, or OK.  In other words, an american typically does not really care how you're doing they're just using a twisted salutation and maybe trying to make small talk. In the Baltics, if you ask someone how they're doing, you better be ready for the real answer. Not just good or bad, but the 15 minute, here's what's really a pain in the back kind of answer. Add the gospel to that and it tended to be a little more upbeat because hey, it makes people happier, but you still should be expecting an honest answer. I think me going to the Baltics was a good fit because I am just terrible at small talk and I do better when I can actually talk to someone about what's real, not about what they happen to have on for a facade. 

Which brings me back to the question of "What do you do?" I asked someone the other day and he somewhat non-interestingly replied "Oh, I'm in the Air Force." Ok, and...? I've never been in the Air Force, but I know there's a lot more to it than just being in the Air Force. After prodding a little about it he said he works in the health care administration office.  Now that's cool. Who would have thought about someone doing that as part of the Air Force. Having considered joining the Air Force on numerous occasions and wondering what some of the many varied opportunities that must exist there might be this had even more interest to me. I also need to point out that this situation is by no means unique. I like to know what people do. I am a very curious person; I want to know how and why things work the way they do.

I'm sure that some of this stems from my inability to succinctly explain what it is that I do. By title and job description I am a Technical Training Program Coordinator. That could take a number of different directions based on the current need for technical training. However it rarely seems like I do anything that actually fits into that title. in reality I often feel that IT Guru would be a better fit. And while I think it is somewhat appropriate and just cool to be an IT Guru, it probably is not the most professional job title in the world.

So am I crazy? Am I weird? Undoubtedly I am. But at the same time. I can do a lot, I like doing a lot. And if I don't have variety and hopefully a bit of challenge in what I'm doing, I'm bored. Which makes what I am currently doing a pretty good job fit. So what do I do? I program a little and work with my employees to design some really cool stuff, that will likely never be seen by the vast majority of the population because it's for internal tools. I am nevertheless excited about that part of my job. I do lot's of participating in project meetings and other discussions where I voice my opinion about how I think things should be to make them better. Tunnel vision is an interesting phenomenom that maybe someday I'll explore a little more, though hopefully not too in depth from personal participation. I value a broad perspective on things. In the words of one of my co-workers, I'm the one that they give the stuff to do when they really want it done right. I do not in any way think I know everything, nor will I ever. I do however think I keep an open mind and can see things from a perspective that can help get things done. For example, some reports had been worked on my multiple people and I was finally assigned and was able to get people to work things out because I took the time to understand the context and data. Too few people do this from my limited experience.

And finally, contrary to popular belief (or not really) I do on occasion do some training. It has most often been informal training, but I have provided a little bit of class room instruction and am working on putting some more together. I enjoy teaching. I really enjoy helping other people to understand something.

So now that I've explained a little bit about what I do and how I feel about it. What do you do? Really, I'm interested.

Creator of things, builder of stuff

September 21, 2008, 9:42 pm - James Farrer

I was talking to my mom tonight and we were comparing William's doing laps at the park tonight to her building obstacle courses as a kid and my building forts, legos, websites, etc.  William has consistently been doing laps around various objects in the house or whereever we may be and refining his ability to traverse the given path.  For example the other night he we climbing over the end of his bed, then over my legs to drop down to the floor then back around the end of the bed.  It was pretty tough for him at first and I had to help quite a bit, but after 4 or 5 times through he figured out how to shift his weight so he could get over the bars on his own and after 10-15 times he was just fast and smooth. My mom would build an obstacle course in the back yard growing up and go over it many times to see how fast they could make it through.  I am typically more interested in building or creating something.  I often find myself in the evenings twiddling my thumbs and thinking "what can I build?" Usually I don't have the resources, ideas, tools, etc. to accomplish too much but the general idea is there. I create things and build stuff.  That's what gives me satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment. That probably explains a great deal of why this website exists in the form that it does.  Sure there are other things that do exactly what this does and more, but I wanted to know exactly what it was doing, make it do just what I wanted it to do, and get the experience of knowing how to do it.

So speaking of building and creating, I have a few things that have been on my mind to work on for the website. I think I'll go look into them.

Climbing climbing everywhere

September 7, 2008, 10:22 pm - James Farrer

William can officially climb everywhere in the apartment. He has climbed onto the window sill in the front room.  Can climb onto the stools in the kitchen and then onto the counter. He has climbed onto his dresser and then into his crib (The only place we haven't seen him climb out of so far). One of the most recent developments is his ability to climb onto the top bunk in his and Abby's room. A little scary? Yes, but he does surprisingly well with it all, so I'm not too worried.

Shauna's first quilt

August 24, 2008, 9:13 pm - James Farrer

Here is the quilt that Shauna has been working on, it's awesome!

It's her first and I think it's pretty good.

It's Official, www.jamesandshauna.com has been updated

August 24, 2008, 6:40 pm - James Farrer

I finally got all of the photos moved over and enough functionality that I was ready to switch over.  So here you are.  If you find that there is something that you don't see on this site but was on the old site (there are a couple of small items) then you can go to old.jamesandshauna.com and everything except the photos will still be there.  I am running out of space so I had to move the photos instead of copying them over. One of these days I'll get a larger hard drive and then it won't be of much concern.  As it is, there are currently 6719 photos and videos on www.jamesandshauna.com. 

If you use the RSS feed for the site, you'll need to resubscribe to the new RSS feed as it has changed. To my knowledge no one else in the world uses it except me (to make sure that it's working correctly) but I think they are incredibly helpful and dislike sites that do not have them so I made one.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about then I strongly suggest to take a look at this post about RSS feeds and then try out Google Reader.

Thanks for reading or at least letting me believe that someone other than myself reads this and looks at the pictures.

Enjoy!

Some days are just frustrating...

August 19, 2008, 12:22 pm - James Farrer

I love my wife and am so thankful that she is so supportive and loving even when we've all had a bad day.

Thank you Shauna!

Busy, Busy, Busy...

August 11, 2008, 7:48 pm - James Farrer

So at first we thought William was a normally busy one year old. We now know better. Shauna took him to a Relief Society activity where they did crafts with kids and the overarching comment was "Whoa, he's busy!".  Yes folks in the last week he has:

  • Wandered off twice, to the point that Shauna was organizing search parties
  • Electrocuted himself twice while unplugging and plugging in a lamp (with several other attempts)
  • Learned to go up stairs as fast as I do
  • Started identifying when things are "stuck"
  • Learned to climb up onto a stool that he doesn't know how to stay up on
  • Dumped out 2 bags and 2 or 3 boxes of cereal
  • Pooped a diaper, took it off in his crib, and fell asleep with it (fortunately no eating or playing with it took place)
  • Gotten into the cupboards enough times that I put child locks on all of them

So there are William's highlights for the week.

Abby has been testing her limits and demanding a lot of attention, but she is a sweet little girl.  She is looking more grown up every day.

Baby #3 is halfway here, Shauna has been pointing out every very pregnant woman and saying "I wish I was that big so I was that close to being done".  I think she's ready to be herself again without a bump or child needing her constantly.

4 states and 2200 miles in 6 days

July 26, 2008, 12:47 pm - James Farrer

With an average of about 365 miles a day the BMW rally turned out to be a really fun experience.  We rode through some really pretty country and some really plain country.  The Black Hills in South Dakota takes the cake for my favorite riding of the trip.  There are beautiful canyons with winding roads through the bottom that are very nice.  There was hardly any traffic and the temperature was really quite pleasant for most of the trip.  It got a little toasty in the afternoons, but while we were riding it was generally cool. 

So the trip went something like this:

  • Day 1 - Orem to Cheyenne with Shauna and kids riding along in the car (they stayed in Cheyenne with family)
  • Day 2 - Meet with Jeff, Mark, and others in Cheyenne and head north to Gillette
  • Day 3 - We rode east through Deadwood, Lead, and Sturgis
  • Day 4 - We rode northwest up to Little Big Horn National Monument, site of Custer's last stand and a National Cemetery (same category as Arlington but not quite so big) it had soldiers and others from the Indian wars or the mid 1800's and others from various wars and conflicts up to the current.  We saw an open pit coal mine and rode over grasshopper covered roads on this stretch.
  • Day 5 - We went back to the Black Hills and saw Mount Rushmore and then rode back down to Cheyenne where Jeff and Mark continued home and I stayed with Shauna
  • Day 6 - Cheyenne back to Orem

All in all it was a much needed change of pace.  Hopefully I can get the pictures posted soon.

BMW International Rally here I come!

July 15, 2008, 7:08 pm - James Farrer

It's the night before leaving for the big BMW rally and I'm excited enough that my stomach has had a small butterfly all day.  All I have left is a quick trip to the store for goodies and supplies, pack up the clothes, try to sleep, and hit the road in the morning.

RSS what????

July 7, 2008, 10:18 am - James Farrer

So I have often tried to explain RSS feeds and convince people of the power of them, but I don't think many people have caught the vision.  So here is one more stab at it.  I found a great video explanation of RSS feeds and how to use them that I think everyone that reads blogs or news sites regularly should watch.  I am a big fan of Google Reader.  I can follow many different blogs, several photography sites, and other geeky stuff of my choosing without having to go out and check all of those sites.

CHECK IT OUT HERE: http://www.commoncraft.com/rss_plain_english

Abby's first primary talk

June 29, 2008, 11:22 pm - James Farrer

Today Abby gave her first talk.  It was really cute. When she found out that it was on temples she got really excited and decided that she wanted to sing "The Temple Song" (I love to see the temple).  So she did.  It took a little prompting once she got up there but she did a fantastic job.  She said/sang her song and said her lines and was excited as can be both before and after.  Apparently as soon as she got into the room she was itching to go up to the front to do it. 

She is growing up so fast.  She has been picking up on some of the most interesting little tid bits from various places.  For example we watched Mr. Magoriums Wonder Emporium the other day and afterwards she was talking about a lemur (which made a 30 second debut in the film).  There have been several other random comments that she has made that just left us speechless or struggling to keep the laughter from overcoming us.

William is starting to repeat various sounds and actions.  Tonight after we all sang Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree William was bouncing and saying pop, pop, pop... Pretty cute.

On another note, here is a funny moment with William from our trip to Colorado. The tub there isn't nearly as tall as ours and William went right up to it with clothes on and all and climbed right in.

I posted a bunch more pictures not too long ago too from William's birthday and our vacation to Colorado. The pictures are here.

Do you ever feel like a Hermit?

June 29, 2008, 11:00 pm - James Farrer

I know I do.  It seems like more and more I go to work, come home, spend a little time with Shauna and the kids, then go to sleep.  Next day it starts over.  I do interact with people at work and even have a few good conversations here and there, but I still like I'm turning into a hermit.  This was thrown into stark relief tonight when we went to a young married folk activity tonight.  It turned out to be a really fun event.  One of the best (probably the best) ward activity that I've attended in this ward.  There were people I could relate to and talk to and it was just a nice evening.  Considering I rarely talk to anyone outside of the people I regularly see at work and home, It was a nice change to have a few good conversations.

So anyways, I think I am becoming a walking dichotomy.  I feel like I am becoming a hermit and I am gradually becoming more ok with it.  I also crave social interaction on a fairly regular basis. Maybe I'm becoming more comfortable with doing some things by myself.  Take riding for example.  In the past I have very much wanted someone to ride with.  I wouldn't mind having someone to ride with but I also enjoyed going for a 100+ mile ride yesterday on my own. 

I think one of the biggest reasons for this dichotomy is that I don't really have any close friends around.  Jason is in Idaho and I haven't gotten too close to that many other people and most of those that I have gotten close to have moved away.  I'm not trying to keep to myself, but I'm not the best at getting out either.  Go figure. 

Catching up, Again.

June 6, 2008, 9:43 am - Shauna Farrer

So life got busy again. Since the last post, we've been to Jackson Hole, Wy. for a week. That was awesome just to get away, be with family, have a dishwasher, you know...Vacation. That was the same week that Leita was getting married and we had decided last fall that we couldn't go to Mexico with her. I've since heard that the wedding went awesome except some people got a little sick. So, it's probably a good thing that we didn't because we were supposed to fly out 5/6 and that was the morning that we had a surprise. We found out that I was pregnant with number 3!!!! Dum Da Da Dum!!! Ok, so even I was just a little surprised. James and I have known for a long time that we were going to have 3 kids at least. But, William and this one will be 18 months apart. I never thought I would have kids that close, but I know this one is supposed to be here. So, I've since seen the doctor and had an ultrasound. We didn't even know what my due date was. Go ultrasounds. So, ready...I'm 11 weeks along and due December 27. Yeah, we thought we would keep the Christmas baby tradition in the family. The doctor has already assured me that I can be induced a week early since I have 8 lb babies (when they are a week early). So, if I don't write again for another month (not that that wouldn't be a surprise anyway), it's because I feel like I'm going to throw up while I chase down two running toddlers, and I'm going home to Colorado for a week starting tomorrow. Thank heavens for home. I can't wait. James will be available, my mom has the week off, I'll see my high school pals, and I get to sleep. Oh to sleep, Yes! So, hi to everyone out there. And I will try to post another update as soon as I can. Have a great week!!!

Kids say the darndest things.

May 6, 2008, 9:34 am - James Farrer

So Shauna was on the phone last night and was making an exclamation about something or other and said "What the..." and Abby promptly pipes in with an energetic "What the heck!". It's amazing what kids pick up on...

Loves

April 17, 2008, 11:19 pm - Shauna Farrer

Usually I have a ton to tell about Abby, but this is for William. He just doesn't talk as often. But, we've made a break-through in communication in the last 2 weeks or so. One day I gave Will a hug and he kissed me back. A day or two later I was telling James about it and he looked at William and said I love you. William promptly planted a cute baby kiss on his cheek! You know the kind, the infant, open-mouthed, gooey, slobbery kinds of kisses! So Cute! So it's nice to know that he understands what we're saying to him.

For all intents and purposes Abby is now potty trained and I'm looking into dance classes for her. I'm trying to find a combo class where they go once a week and learn a little bit of ballet, jazz, tap, and gymnastics. Over time, they naturally figure out which ones of those that they prefer. I think it would be awesome.

On other fronts, James got a camera for graduation last year. It's a Nikon Digital SLR and it's awesome. So, for his birthday he got the flash and some people at his work asked if he would do their engagement pictures. They liked it so much they paid him. It's official, he's a professional. And they were cute pics.

As for me, I was talking to a friend back home (ok, maybe griping just a little), and she says "why don't you do a home-based business?" And that's when I told her that in all theory I did, I just didn't do my Mary Kay stuff on a large scale. So, I decided to go to a conference, and I got all motivated again and I started working again. I actually have classes booked, and I'm making money this time around. My goal, to 1) provide some funds for myself to have some fun just because (jewelry, being able to go on vacations, etc), 2) get a few things we need around the house (furniture, carpet cleaner...), 3) someday earn a car, 4) but most importantly to get our school debt paid off so that we can get a house. Realistically, I think this will take 3-4 years considering a starter house in this area is ridiculously expensive. My parents custom built their dream house 8 years ago with 1/2 acre of land for a WHOLE lot LESS than what we are looking at. Oh well. But, it's do-able if I can finish paying off the school loans. So here's to
being busy, having fun, and reaching goals. Thanks to Hales, James, and those who have been so supportive of my dreams. Sometimes I forget to dream, and it's been nice to do that again.

New Photographic Possibilities

March 30, 2008, 9:07 pm - James Farrer

I took my birthday money and got a flash for my camera this last week. We got the Nikon SB-600. Shauna and I looked at flashes a while back and were dissapointed at the high prices for the features that we were looking for. 

I have a coworker that just got engaged and after doing a small training segment on photography she asked if I would be interested in taking their engagement photos.  I have been hoping for opportunities to get more experience am very excited for this opportunity.  Since I had some birthday money and was thinking about getting the flash with it anyway, this was the perfect opportunity to go looking again.  We were pleasantly surprised to find the price for a flash that we were looking at was about $100 less than what we had been expecting.  It was a very pleasant surprise that we took advantage of and got it.

So thank you to all who contributed, it has gone to a useful bit of device that will be not only enjoyed by myself and others but has the potential to help provide a little extra income in the future (assuming I can actually make quality use of it).

I have been tinking with settings and trying to better understand how it works.  I'm sure Shauna is starting to get tired of the many flashes whenever I pull it out to tinker some more. 

I think I'm going to need to start formally building my portfolio if this goes well :-)

Dinner time quote

March 11, 2008, 6:37 pm - James Farrer

[Noise from under the table where Abby is sitting]
"Mommy, I had a burp in my bottom."

Cute Sayings

March 9, 2008, 10:22 pm - Shauna Farrer

So we've been pretty busy, still working on that potty training thing and getting caught up with dentist and eye doctor appointments. It's that time. I have to admit that I get into my ' go get it done' mode and I must be a tyrant of a mommy when I get into that mode because my kids are always trying to figure out a way to bring me back to real life. So, Abby had a couple of 'accidents' and William has been crying a lot. I swear they are trying to call to me and tell me they need me, but I just get frustrated and need to have my own time and escape it all. So I tried to escape a few times, and it didn't work. We ended up having nachos for dinner and watching Enchanted as a family (it pays to have a sister working at Blockbuster. You can see all the movies before they come out to determine whether or not it's worth buying them the first week they are out and $5 cheaper at Wal-Mart). I finally started to relax and Abby was so cute at the end of the movie, she leaned over and said "Mommy, that was a coooool movie!" I have to admit I was shocked because the dragon lady had scared her. But, apparantly she liked it enough to race down the hall pretending to be the dragon lady. 10 minutes later she had another accident. I have to say I'm thankful for the cute, good, funny moments day to day, because otherwise this mommy job would be a lot harder. Oh well, back to real life. :D

Photos reconstruction finished

March 8, 2008, 11:14 pm - James Farrer

I have been redoing the file structure that photos are stored in to make it more scalable in the future.

I have tried to test everything to make sure that it works but it's likely that I missed something.  If you find any errors where something doesn't seem to work correctly, then please email me at james@crazyfam.org.

Thanks.

The Parable of the Talents

March 2, 2008, 9:44 pm - James Farrer

Lately I have had this thought in the back of my mind wondering if I'm doing enough.  I feel like I have been blessed with some great skills and many opportunities.  Because of that I often wonder if I am using these as I should be and doing everything that I should.

In parallel with those thoughts is the idea of "being part of something bigger".  I have many times heard comments or desires about being part of something bigger.  So the question that faces me is whether I should be.  To a large extent I think the important thing that I am a part of is my family.  But is that enough?

I happen to work at a university that is funded in part by my church, and therefore my job is indirectly a part of something bigger.  I really like that about my job.  I feel like I do very good work.  Am I in the position where I can do the most good?  I think that for the time being I'm in a good spot.  In getting to where I am I feel like the Lord has guided me and provided me with opportunities.  These opportunities have propelled me further in my career than I think someone my age would normally be in.  I really appreciate this.  I have often felt like I am being trained and prepared for a future work.  The real question is when does the future arrive and the the training turn into that work.  Maybe it's a constant process and I can do good along the way.  I feel like that really is the case where I'm at.  Is this my full potential for where I'm at in my life?



I think a lot.  Last night the topic of my thinking turned to my thinking.  That's right, I'm crazy enough to think about thinking.  I'm not sure if that really means much but I started wondering about whether other people think as much as I do.  Do they think faster or slower?  Do they think at the same speed but the difference lies only in the topic?  I think it's probably a combination of these. 

In discussing this with Shauna I was reminded about a study that a coworker told me about.  It concluded that people with loss of sight or hearing adapt to their lessened abilities in one area by utilizing the brain capacity that is normally used for the ability that they lack to increase the capability of their other skills.  For example, as a blind person learns to read braille the touch section of the brain begins to utilize the part of the brain that would normally process sight. 

This relates back to thinking because maybe we're all using a roughly similar amount of brain capacity in our constant thinking but each individual utilizes this in vastly different ways.  For example, one person may use this to better organize and keep track of the events in their day while another may use the same section of brain to think about the current most pressing task and worry less about prioritizing the other tasks. 

This is probably a gross simplification of what is really going on, but it is one bit of my attempt to better understand the world around me.



A moment of self reflection.

In hearing of the presidential candidates and their bantering back and forth about this and that there was something that struck me as intriguing.  Many times I have heard of a candidate being accused of switching sides of an issue. 

While at first this seems like a bad thing, upon self examination, I consider the ability to change my mind about a topic quite a valuable skill.  That is not to say that am wishy-washy or easily persuaded.  I feel like I base my decisions to support or oppose one side of a debate based on the knowledge that I currently possess.  I try very hard to remain open to both sides of the debate and if I find out more about the topic, I feel like I do a good job of changing my decision.  I know that what I thought of as a good idea at one time was really not so good after acquiring more knowledge about the topic.

While I don't think everyone approaches decision making with the same amount of logic or reason that I do, I do believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt.  Perhaps we as a society need to readjust our standard of trust to accept that people may change their mind depending on the circumstances and that this should be normal.  The important thing is why they changed their mind, not that they did change their mind.

HB 140 on Child Restraint Devices

February 28, 2008, 9:44 am - James Farrer

Yesterday I found out about a disturbing bill that was enough to cause me to write to my state senator. The reason behind the bill are not so much a concern for me as the fact that I strongly believe this bill crosses the threshold of excessively restricting my freedom to choose.

The bill raises the age on the already restrictive law for child restraint devices from 5 yrs to 8 yrs of age or 57 inches in height whichever comes first.

The bill has already passed in the Utah House of Representatives and is starting to be discussed in the Senate. If you feel as I do about this bill excessively restricting your freedom please write to your senator and let them know. You can find your senator at http://www.le.state.ut.us/maps/amap.html and more information on the bill at http://le.utah.gov/~2008/htmdoc/hbillhtm/hb0140.htm.

Here is the letter I wrote to my senator which more clearly states my position:

Dear Senator Dayton,

While I agree that child safety is important and that child restraints and booster seats can generally make a car a safer environment I oppose this bill because I strongly believe it takes the law too far in requiring that they be used. I believe that it is a parents right to determine what is best for their children for better or worse.

Education is good. I believe that people generally make the best and most logical decision when accurate information is presented to them. I think educating on this topic is important and that people will choose to be as safe as reasonably possible. But I believe that by requiring these changes by law is extreme. All but the final statistic that were presented in the House in support of this bill did not accurately reflect whether or not the deaths and injuries would have been changed by a booster seat. It was shown that booster seats are safer, but the numbers given were misleading.

I believe that given some circumstance I may choose to have my child not sit in a child restraint while riding in the car. I feel it is unjust to make me break the law in acting on this decision. An example of this might be regarding the vehicles that I currently own. I have a small family car and a pickup truck. On rare occasions such as when the car is in use somewhere else or when it is not in working order I have to take the kids in the truck. There is no realistic way for me to have both my children in child restraints and still operate the vehicle. Given the way the seatbelts are arranged in my truck I think that a booster seat would not be reasonably necessary anyways.

Should another child join my family there is not room in the car to fit three child restraints. I could place my oldest child in a regular seat belt; assuming we wait just long enough to have a third child my oldest will likely be 5 years old when that happens, barely meeting the current law. While I am working to be financially prepared to purchase a larger vehicle when that time comes, I would be unreasonably forced to break the law to take my family anywhere if circumstances did not allow the purchase of a larger vehicle.

I ride a motorcycle. I know as well as the next person what the risks of riding a motorcycle are. I have done research to find what information exists about motorcycle injury and death statistics. While the danger is higher on a motorcycle than in a car, I have made the decision to still ride one. I wear a helmet, jacket, gloves, long pants, and protective boots whenever I ride. By driving down the road you can see that this is more than almost all riders wear and by my actions you can see Im more safety minded than most. By progressively increasing motorcycle and seatbelt safety laws the same way child restraint laws are being adjusted it is foreseeable that motorcycles would be made illegal because there are no safety belts. Again, too extreme.

Having children of my own I have read the law on what is required for child restraints. I think the law is already borderline on being excessively restrictive. Thats not to say I do not always have my children in car seats. But I am educated and feel I can make the decision for myself and for my family.

This country is great because of the freedom to choose and to act as one determines is best. I would support a measure to educate on this topic, but not to restrict by law. I oppose this bill because it excessively restricts my freedom.

Thank you for your time,

James and Shauna Farrer


I broke it...

February 22, 2008, 2:10 pm - Shauna Farrer

I broke it ! It didn't post to the other one. I'll copy and paste then.

A busy week

February 22, 2008, 12:25 pm - Shauna Farrer

So I've never posted to our own website. Never felt the urge to, but I thought we would try it today. And in all theory this should post to my blog too. So we'll see if I break it :D

It's been a busy busy week. Monday the girls in James family got together to scrapbook and have fondue. Cheese and chocolate. Yummmm. Here are some recipes that don't call for alcohol that we tried.

Chocolate Fondue

8 oz Semi sweet chocolate pieces
8 oz Milk chocolate pieces
2/3 C + 2 Tbsp Heavy cream (we used heavy whipping cream)
2 tsp vanilla

Chop chocolate up into small pieces if it isn't already. Melt chocolate over low heat (in a double boiler if you have to cook it before you serve it in a fondue pot). Add cream. Stir until chocolate melts and the cream is blended. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Enjoy

Cheddar Cheese Fondue

4 Tbsp Butter
3 Tbsp Flour
3 shakes Dry Mustard
1 shake minced Garlic
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 C Milk
6 C Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Melt butter in saucepan, whisk in flour, mustard and garlic. Gradually add mild, stirring constantly until thickened. Add Worcestershire sauce and blend. Add cheese and stir over low heat until cheese is melted.



The other part of our busy week was potty training. This has been very difficult for us. When Abby was showing us a year ago that she was ready to potty train, I was in my last trimester of pregnancy with William. I wasn't ready to start. Then Crystal was living with us and that was hectic, and then she moved out. So, I figured that now we are getting into our own little routine finally we had better get on it. Especially since Abby now has such a negative attitude about it. So, we had a party. A potty party. The book said you could potty train your child in one day, and I almost hoped. Now I've come to realize that Abby is not that child and we will just keep working on it. But we did take some very important steps on Wednesday. She will sit on the potty. She likes the stickers, and she wants to ice skate and dance. I told her she could have dance lessons if she would learn to use the potty. It actually costs less than the diapers and wipes. So, now we are learning. And she's doing well. I'm glad she's so smart, and I told James the other night after she was fighting us,  that I'm glad she's a fighter. I just hope and pray that we teach her good principles and that she learns to fight for good causes as she grows older. She's my cute girl :D

 

New Links Page

February 18, 2008, 12:57 pm - James Farrer

I have created a new page that lets you add links.

Not feeling so well

February 10, 2008, 6:56 pm - James Farrer

Everybody has times when they're not feeling so well.  For everyone in my family it happened to be this weekend.  Thursday night it started and was bad enough that Shauna had me stay take some sick time Friday to help take care of everybody.  Fortunately I've felt the best of everyone, but I've still been on the edge.

At first I was not very excited to take care of a bunch of sick people.  But as luck would have it, it's been a good weekend.  I was able to help out and spend a lot of time with the kids.  It's kind of ironic, but it took them being sick to slow them down enough to want to cuddle.  I think William has taken over half of his naps this weekend in my arms since that was the place he would sleep the best.

Abby fell asleep several times sitting next to me as well.  I think it surprised Shauna when she got home from an errand to see William sleeping in my arms and Abby asleep right next to me.  Aside from their sleeping, I also got some good play time in with them when they were awake (and feeling good enough to play).  

Good Books

February 10, 2008, 6:55 pm - James Farrer

With all the sleeping going on by everyone I also managed to get quite a bit of reading in.  I read Ender's Game a week or two ago and borrowed the sequel "Speaker for the Dead" from the library.  I was able to finish that yesterday.  They are both really good books.  They are sci-fi books, but if you're not a normal sci-fi fan I wouldn't let that stop you.  They deal in the future and with sci-fi'ish topics, but the real meat of the story (in my opinion) is in how it addresses interactions and relationships.  It brings many opportunities to think outside the box a bit and re-assess how you think about other people and the world.  The books address different levels of relationships and proved to be very insightful to me. 

Theory of Time Comprehension

February 10, 2008, 6:55 pm - James Farrer

I don't remember exactly when the thought occurred to me, but it's been several years now and I thought I would take the time to write it out.  I don't know how ultimately useful it is, but it explains better than anything else I've heard why time feels like it goes faster as we get older.

The basic meat of the theory is that we as individuals can only comprehend a finite amount of time.  That's not to say that we can only grasp a certain number of years, months, or days, but that we have a fixed amount of space that the time we experience fits into.  Let me try to explain.

When a child is five years old they have five years worth of memory (or less if you figure in that memories don't seem to stick for the first few years).  Those memories fill up the amount of space that can be comprehended.  Since each minute takes up a relatively large amount of space, it seems to the child that time passes very slowly.

To contrast that, let's look at someone who is 90 years old.  That is 90 years of time that has to fit into the same amount of space as the five year old.  Each minute takes up a relatively smaller amount of space and because of this as each minute passes it seems to this person that it passes very quickly.  

Overall as a person grows older time seems to pass more quickly as more memories are squished into this comprehendible space.

Super Tuesday, What's that?

February 5, 2008, 11:04 pm - James Farrer

So it's been a busy couple of weeks with some of the recent news I've been following.  The church has gone through a change in leadership with Pres. Hinckley's passing.  "Super Tuesday" and the election debates are causing quite a stir.  Microsoft is trying to take over Yahoo.

A New Prophet

Pres. Hinckley was a great man.  He spent the vast majority of his life in service to others.  I respect that a lot.  I know I still have a long ways to go before I can come close to where he was at when he was my age.  As the various bits of news have come out, the funeral passed, and the press conference where the new first presidency were announced took place I've been quite fascinated to see how people react.  I have seen all sorts of reactions.  Most of them, it seems, are more emotional than my own.  I'm not exactly sure why this is but am not entirely surprised by it either.  Many people have commented on how large a role he played in their life.  Maybe I'm not doing all that I should but I don't think Pres. Hinckley played any more than a minor indirect role in my daily life.  That said, I am happy that he can now be with his wife and will no longer have the pains of old age to slow him down.  

That said, Pres. Monson has had a more significant impact on my life.  I have long enjoyed his talks with the many stories and examples.  While I was in the MTC he came and spoke and one of the phrases that he mentioned many times in that talk (and I have since heard him say it many more times) is that "When you're on the Lord's errand, you're entitled to the Lord's help."  This more than any other talk I think has stuck with me.  Maybe that experience will lend to a more emotional experience when his time comes to pass to the other side of the veil.  Then again, maybe not.  I don't know that I've come up with any more conclusions other than I probably need to try and do at least a little more in the spiritual facets of my life, but it has caused me to stop and muse a bit.

"Super Tuesday"

Where did this name come from anyways? Yesterday while driving down home from work there were a number of people standing on a busy corner with Ron Paul promoting propaganda.  They referenced "freedom" in a few different ways, most of which when combined with their style of dress (unkept and one person significantly similar to a pirate) gave the indication that they really just didn't like being controlled as not quite fully mature individuals.  Tonight Shauna was flipping through a few channels and we saw various supporters standing behind other candidates while they gave speeches.  Many were excited and overly energetic, a few were moderately happy, but they were all clapping and shouting their support at various, all-to-frequent, points in the speech.  This seems odd to me because I cannot see much reason to be excited over a mildly patriotic speech that has little logical flow when it makes sense at all.  I consider myself very patriotic, but some of the individuals seemed fanatical about things that would otherwise put me to sleep.  

Hmmm, I hope all of this has some sort of coherent thought in it.  

In any case, I do not remember any election that has been followed quite this closely, speculated upon quite so heavily, and debated by so many people when not the final election.  I think part of it has to do with the fact that we have several firsts running for president.  Hillary Clinton, to my knowledge, is the first woman to come this close to being president.  Barack Obama, again to my knowledge, is the first black man to get this close to being president. Mitt Romney is the closest Latter-day Saint to being president.  Granted, the significance of Romney is greater for me than the majority of the nation.  It is obvious that this is an unusual presidential race.  I struggle with the validity of the race overall since it is extremely difficult to get complete and accurate representations of how the candidates will actually act in office based on their campaign agendas.  I also question the emphasis on the public voting in the final election since it is not our votes that matter so much as the representatives that, I hope, are significantly more informed than I am.  

Conclusions:
* I think the campaigning system (if you can call it that) is getting out of hand
* I think I should be able to vote online
* I think I should get more involved in letting my representatives know what's on my mind

Microsoft/Yahoo/Google wars

For those of you not familiar with this (I don't expect many non-geeks would care that much about it) Microsoft has offered to acquire Yahoo.  I think the idea of ganging up with your enemies to take out the bigger enemy is the driving force with this.  I also think it's interesting that Yahoo seems more willing (based on the entirely unreliable media) to make a deal with Google than to be assimilated into Microsoft.  Either way it sounds like Yahoo is quickly reaching the end of it's life.  

The biggest question is who will eat up Yahoo's market share and how long will it take.  I'd probably elaborate more but it's late and this is already getting to be a long blog.


A couple other topics that I'd like to blog on more tonight if time would allow are the looming economic recession and public transportation.  Here's a little bit to give an idea of my thoughts:

The economic recession that everyone keeps talking about is, in my opinion, just a by product of the american publics lack of spending control when credit is too easy to come by.  I think we have spent more than we could afford to for too long and it is finally catching up with us.  I don't think any amount of money in the form of stimulus packages from the government will really do much.  We need time and discipline.  Time to spend less then we make so we can emerge from personal debt, and the discipline to stop digging a pit for ourselves.  

Public Transportation needs to be more available to be useful.  We won't fully utilize it until it is.  it won't be implemented widely enough because it is not utilized enough currently.  A self defeating and vicious circle.  I think our housing is rarely compact enough and we have too many cars for public transportation to really catch on in the Wasatch front.  I would like to see myself proven wrong in this.  I think the quickly worsening traffic could significantly change the balance on the scales, but it's not going to be an easy journey.  

Christmas Vacation

January 6, 2008, 10:36 pm - James Farrer

It's been a nice Christmas vacation, but it's now come to a close.  We spent most of it in Colorado with Shauna's family and it was a nice break.

I have uploaded a whole bunch of photos, basically from Halloween up to today.  I think there may be a few more along with some videos on our other camera, I haven't gotten to that yet. 

Enjoy!

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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