2012 - A Year in Review
December 20, 2012, 9:44 am - James Farrer
It’s been a busy year for our family. When we started the year Amy was a newborn and we were just getting used to having six of us in our family. Now she’s running around investigating (a.k.a. getting into) everything in sight and a few things that aren’t. A lot has changed but we’re happy, healthy, and having fun amid the constant challenges of a growing family.
As you can see from our family picture we’ve got glasses all around. Shauna and I both have poor eyesight and we figured the odds weren’t in our kids favor but little did we know how soon we would all have to deal with it. This year three of the four kids got glasses and it appears Amy is doomed, we’re just hoping she can make it a few years still. We’ve actually been through a few pairs with the boys as they had accidental, or not, breaks. We’re working through it, but needless to say, instead of toys or coal in Alex’s stocking, he’s getting a new pair of glasses...that strap to his head...with no moving parts to overextend...till they bend and break.
Amy just turned one and is cruising about getting into things left and right. She is curious, very playful and generally has a ton of personality wrapped up in her little grin. Thanks in part to Amy and with a little help from Alex our Christmas tree this year is a pretty sad sight. Half is missing ornaments, lights are askew, and the angel was taken out by a tackle or a flying projectile, I’m not really sure which.
Alex is our little superhero. He is boy through and through and even has his own theme song that he will occasionally sing as he rushes through the house. He and William are constantly using their superpowers to battle the evil villains. Alex started preschool this year. We weren’t planning on him going originally but when Abby left for school Alex put on his backpack and walked out the door proclaiming “Bye Mom, I’m going to school!” We figure if nothing else the social interaction will be a good thing for him.
William started kindergarten and is doing fabulous. He is always trying to build something with Legos, paper, cardboard, etc. Often it’s armor or something to go along with the superhero activities between him and Alex. It’s not uncommon for us to hear “So I’ve been thinking...” come out of his mouth followed by some observation of how the world works. He’s smart and was reading before he knew his alphabet.
Abby had a big day this year after turning eight when I was able to baptize her. She was super excited and has been learning how to choose the right thing to do even when it’s hard. She is doing great in school and has turned into quite the little bookworm reading just about anything she can get into her hands. She has been enjoying piano lessons and had her first recital this week. She is growing up so fast and it’s fun to watch her as she grows. Sometimes she is trying to grow up and be a great helper and other times she is a true kid at heart as she runs and plays with the boys.
Our kids really are a joy in our lives and we are so grateful for them. It’s a regular zoo in our house and we’re usually grateful when they are all finally in bed and asleep at night so we can have a few minutes of peace and quiet. I guess it’s just all part of the fun of having kids.
Shauna has been having fun helping out at the elementary school by teaching art segments that highlight an artist and their style. She then has the students do a project in a similar style. While the whirlwind of kids in the house sometimes makes it a constant thankless job, she does a great job of taking care of all of us day in and day out. She’s always got something going and usually something good cooking. It’s amazing I haven’t gained a gazillion pounds because she’s a fabulous cook and we tend to eat pretty well.
As we’ve been in this house for a few years we’ve been doing more organizing and even trying our hand at some home improvement projects. We built some shelves, repainted and added a tile border to a bathroom, and put in a patio of paver stones in the back. Shauna has big plans for this next year to make the space more livable. It looks like we won't be slowing down anytime soon.
Shauna and I celebrated our 10th anniversary this year. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long already, but then I look at all the kids running around and can’t help but smile. We’ve been very blessed and we just keep trucking along; happy when we get the chance to walk hand in hand.
This year brought a big change for me. After seven years of working for BYU an opportunity fell into my lap that while fairly unexpected, felt just right and has been a great blessing. Some people I met several years ago through work decided to start their own consulting company called Crossfuze and when they had more work than the two of them could handle contacted me and offered me a chance to join them. As part of this change I am now working from home and talking to people from all over the country and world on a regular basis. I’m doing much of the same technical work that I’ve been doing but as a consultant there’s a whole new spin on things. It's been a good new challenge to learn and grow into.
Working from home has been a blessing. I’ve really enjoyed getting to see the kids at various points in the day instead of primarily just when they’re cranky and hungry at dinner and bedtime. I don’t miss commuting, but I have missed getting to ride the motorcycle regularly. Now going to get the mail and the occasional trip to the store a few blocks aways is really getting out for me.
Shauna has really enjoyed having me home so she has another adult to talk to. She has also enjoyed a lot more flexibility since she can step out while the kids are at school and napping. It’s been an interesting experience to also have more insight into how her day goes, especially as our schedules interact.
All things considered we’ve been busy and had a lot of fun. We’ve all had some growing and changing and we’ve been very blessed. As we reflect on our year we feel very blessed to have our wonderful kids in our lives, a good job, and a warm home. We are very thankful for all of our family and friends. And we are very thankful that we have the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and for the joy, peace, and happiness it gives us as we navigate the various storms and struggles of life.
Work can be Art
November 13, 2012, 1:47 pm - James Farrer
I watched a talk by Julie Burstein called 4 lessons in creativity. She has interviewed and worked with a lot of artists and shares stories about those artists and their creativity. At some point someone commented on how "artists always talk about their work, not their art." This got me thinking a little bit since I've made some art in various forms. But the thing that struck me was how for me, my work is my art. I program for a living, primarily building websites.
When I am working on a project or some piece of code I work to come up with an elegant solution. Most people see computer code as just a bunch of text on a screen. But for me, depending on how it's done, it can be garbage or it can be a beautiful solution. From the user perspective some of the best, most elegant solutions are the ones that people hardly see or notice.
My work is my art.
October 8, 2012, 7:29 pm - Shauna Farrer
Last February I took Abby and William with me as I went to the eye doctor. I already knew they were nearsighted and so I wanted to see if they needed to be corrected. Turns out they did. Both of them. So we picked out their snazzy new glasses and my contacts and went home. I felt like I should check Alex, but surely he was only 3 and didn't need glasses yet.
Turns out he needed them worst of all and got his own pair of glasses in August. So three of my four babies now have glasses. Ages 7, 5, and 3. Well, we always knew our kids would have fat feet and bad eyes. Still, I feel bad for them that they are so young. And honestly I expected broken glasses given their ages. I have been surprised and impressed that all of the kids have done so well taking care of and keeping track of their glasses. Alex struggles a bit, but he is 3.
So I wasn't surprised last night when William came down crying that his glasses were broke. Alex fell on him and the front corner of the frames snapped. He didn't take them to school today and a neighbor in his class asked where his glasses were, and can he see? William replied matter of a fact, "I can mostly see. It's just those mountains over there. They are soggy!" I laughed and asked if he meant blurry. Yes, that was what he meant. So cute. I love the words the kids come up with when they don't know the word they need.
In other news, Amy got her second tooth this weekend. The makes 2 teeth at 10 months. It doesn't seem to be slowing her down with her eating thankfully. We also tore out the grass in our backyard so we can put in pavers. The kids all had a great time helping. Alex was the big buff man trying to lift the same pieces I was, while Abby and William dug the grass out with James. Hopefully we can get the patio done before the snow flies and Abby's baptism!
September 26, 2012, 10:37 pm - James Farrer
If nothing else, my kids love to read.
Jesus is smiling at me!
September 13, 2012, 7:55 am - James Farrer
Last night Shauna and I took our kids to the Provo Temple for family home evening. It was really cool to see how excited they were to see the temple. While we were driving there Alex told us he "really wants to see the temple." We walked around the grounds and explained about it being the Lord's house and about how we should respect it and that only worthy people can go inside to keep it clean.
After a few minutes William turned to us and said "Jesus is smiling at me." I was surprised at how well he described the feeling of the Holy Ghost that we felt there. It was a nice peaceful feeling and I'm glad my son could teach me a little more about how the Holy Ghost feels.
September 3, 2012, 10:24 am - James Farrer
Apparently eating is hard work. Amy finished eating breakfast and before I had a chance to get her out of her chair this is how I found her.
Learning to Code
September 1, 2012, 1:37 pm - James Farrer
Abby decided she wanted to learn how to program today so we started working through a basic tutorial and she actually did pretty good. It is definitely geared towards someone older than 7 and there are a number of words and things that she needs help understanding in the instructions but she made it through the first two sections in about 2 hours and decided she needed a break. I figured she might come back to it in a couple days but right after lunch she wanted to do some more. She was upset when she couldn't continue with the lessons.
It's a good day to be a Geek Dad :-).
August 30, 2012, 6:01 pm - James Farrer
Shauna: Alex is a handful!
James: Two or Three actually.
William: Who's a handful?
Shauna: All y'all.
William: Who's Ollyall?
Where'd August go?
August 29, 2012, 10:46 pm - James Farrer
Apparently it's been a busy month. I almost missed writing this month.
So here's the recap. New crawler, new job, new brother-in-law, new niece, new tooth, and a new kid in school. Yeah, somehow we fit that all in around the rest of the day to day stuff. Shauna is calling me to bed so I'll make it quick.
Amy is super happy, crawling, standing up, climbing stairs, and got her first tooth a couple days ago. Thinking of her just makes me smile, but that's the case with all my kids :-).
Out of the blue I was contacted by someone who used to work for ServiceNow and helped BYU when we were first getting started and after several conversations, meeting for lunch, and a lot of prayers we came to the conclusion the Lord wants us to move on to new opportunities and I now work for Crossfuze, a small company (I am employee number three) doing ServiceNow consulting. I am working from home and while it has it's pros and cons, overall it has been a really good move.
Caitlin got married to Michael Brice and all reports that are coming back are positive. It was a really good day and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Abby got to be the flower girl and was completely thrilled about it.
Jessica went to the hospital right after the Caitlin's reception and after a long labor Tatum was born the next day. She is a healthy little girl and everyone is on the uphill side of recovery.
William had an "AWESOME" first day of kindergarten and seems to be adjusting very well to it. He's a good smart kid who is eager to learn. He's been coming up with logical conclusions about the world around him that are fun to hear and see the gears turning as he thinks about things. Alex has been doing pretty good with it but was definitely better when Shauna decided to send him to pre-school. The deciding factor was when he filled up his backpack, and said "bye mom, I'm going to school" as he was walking out the door.
Well, I'm sure Shauna is either worried or passed out since I'm not up there yet. I guess I better stop :-).
Organizing the house
July 28, 2012, 5:25 pm - James Farrer
We finished building some shelves in the garage. We actually cannibalized another shelf and ended up with less surface area and more storage space since it's more accessible now. Definitely a step in the right direction.
July 7, 2012, 9:47 am - James Farrer
It's official, as of July 6, 2012 Amy can crawl. It's still an army style belly crawl, but she's definitely moving forward the direction that she wants to go. Life just got more interesting. Probably a little more frantic too.
Caitlin is getting married
June 13, 2012, 10:47 am - James Farrer
It's crazy to think that my littlest sister is getting married. It doesn't seem like that long ago that this picture was taken and now I've got 4 kids, two of which are older than Caitlin was in this picture.
May 19, 2012, 11:19 pm - James Farrer
We went up to Scofield Reservoir today and took the kids fishing. I caught a small fish; the first in a long time. I had forgotten much of the feeling. It was pretty cool, even though it was really just a small fish. I think everyone enjoyed the time out. We went up with some friends and it was good to spend some time with them too.
I think we're going to have to get out fishing some more.
It's important to talk
April 3, 2012, 7:28 am - James Farrer
The adversary would love to bind our tongues—anything to prevent us from expressing verbally the feelings of our hearts face to face. He delights in distance and distraction; he delights in noise; he delights in impersonal communication—anything that would prevent us from the warmth of a voice and the personal feelings that come from conversing eye to eye.
Apr. 2012 Ensign, Taking Time to Talk and Listen, Rosemary M. Wixom
Ships of All Kinds
March 31, 2012, 4:08 pm - James Farrer
This month has apparently been a month of ships. William has been interested in ships of all kinds but especially pirate ships. It seems that March has been the month for him, though I don't think anybody has been complaining. In the middle of the month everyone stopped by to visit me at work. I have some magnets on my desk and William was quite and stayed busy with them for a while and as they were going to leave he finished and showed us what he was up to. Pretty impressive if you ask me.
Growing up I dreamed of going into space someday. To be honest I still dream about it. At the same time I grew up building with Legos. I think both have significantly contributed to who I am today. Or maybe they are just outward expressions of who I am. In any case, for my birthday I got a Lego space shuttle (Another type of ship ;-) ). I've been excited about it, and it is about all Shauna and I could do to keep the kids from playing with and tearing it apart.
Growing up I got a Lego Pirate Ship (or really an imitation brand that didn't entirely stick together). It's been sitting in a bag in pieces for years and with the boys so fascinated with ships I decided to pull it out and put it together with super glue so it would stay together. It's definitely a slower process, but the boys are going crazy with anticipation. Here it is so far.
Since it was taking so long William decided to make his own. I think he did pretty good.
March 13, 2012, 11:12 pm - James Farrer
"Most people have a light dimmer switch, we have a gravity dimmer switch." ~Shauna
February 27, 2012, 10:24 pm - James Farrer
I was blessed to be the point of focus for Amy's first real laugh tonight. It makes my heart melt.
Jim Slaydon History
February 26, 2012, 7:26 pm - James Farrer
Back in the hills of Southwest Virginia in 1926 there was a young mother to be that was thinking about going to church on Sundays. While studying the Bible she decided to pray to God to find out which church she should go to. She said a voice told her that she would have a son and that he would lead her to the true church. That was my mother and I was born on Sept. 30th, 1927
I went to "Vacation Bible School" at the Christian church in Pulaski, a little town in Southwest Virginia, and later joined the Baptist Church. There was no such thing as a Mormon Church in that part of the country.
I finished grade school and high school in Pulaski. I started college at Milligan, a small college in Northeastern Tennessee. I had barely started when I got greetings from Uncle Sam. I was drafted into the Army, and was to report for duty on the 20th of January
, the day after the semester was over.
I took Basic Training in Shephard Field, Texas. Radio school in Scott Field, Ill. and went to Mitchel Field, New York, and had shipping orders to go to Germany. The night before we were to ship out, they changed the orders and sent me to McCord Field, Washington and from there to Hill Field, Utah. I then met my to be wife, Almina Carter, in Ogden on a Saturday Afternoon
. We dated for the next 3 months and I was discharged and returned to Virginia.
We later started corresponding with each other and I decided to come to Utah for the summer. After dating for the summer I decided to stay in Utah, and go to Weber College that fall. I was baptized in January 31st, 1951
, and we were married civilly the following April 2nd.
We were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple exactly a year later. Three weeks later on April 28th
, our first child, Becky, was born.
After graduating from Weber, I decided to continue my education at the University of Utah and graduated from there in 1955 with a degree in Business Management.
We then moved to 3155 So. 20th East, to a house next door, and then to 3237 Melbourne St
The Rudds (Glenn and Marva Rudd) were then called from the ward to be mission president in Florida. And because my family had moved from VA to Florida I gave Glenn a referral with my parents name on it. He said he carried the card for about a year and then gave it to two good missionaries to contact them. They set up and appointment and started giving them some lessons. My brother Russell and his wife attended and later joined. Mom joined and then Dad joined and they all went to the temple, and we were all sealed in the temple for time and all eternity.
So I don't think any of this would have happened if I had not met and married Almina so she can take all the credit.
Grandpa and the B-17 Flying Fortress
February 24, 2012, 11:06 pm - James Farrer
A few weeks ago we were visiting my Grandparents and my Grandpa told me a few stories.
He told me about how he was drafted into the Air Force shortly after World War II and he ended up at Hill Air Force Base. He joined the bases basketball team. The team captain was a pilot of a B-17 so when they needed to go places for their games they would take the B-17. He said it was pretty cool to travel around like that.
One of the trips they made was to St. George. I’m not sure if it is still this way but at the time the airport was located at the edge of a cliff. The approach to the runway was from the bottom side of the cliff and as they came in the air currents pushed them up so high that they had to call off the landing and try again.
The pilot flew in lower the next time and my Grandpa said he was pretty sure they were going to hit the ground but just before they got to the edge of the cliff the air currents pushed them up again. The pilot touched down but very quickly had to abort the landing because it pushed them too far down the runway.
The next time they came around the pilot started quite a bit below the level of the runway and my Grandpa said he was quite sure they were going to fly straight into the cliff. Just like before however they were pushed up at the last second and they touched down. It still pushed them further than they needed to be and the pilot was scrambling to slow the plane down before they ran out of runway.
Right at the edge of the runway they were still moving along pretty good and the pilot locked up the brakes on one side of the plane which spun the plane around. It spun around three times before coming to a stop.
My Grandpa said he’s never had a scarier landing. It sure made my night to have him share the story with me though.
Riding in February
February 8, 2012, 10:39 pm - James Farrer
Went for a ride on Saturday to test out my new helmet and balaclava (at least that was the excuse). It worked great. With a temperature of 35 degrees I stayed reasonably warm.
It was pretty cool to see the ice that had been blown up onto the shore.
I believe in God, do you?
January 8, 2012, 6:03 pm - James Farrer
I decided today that for me to vote for a presidential candidate they would have to believe in God and have some sort of an active faith. I'm not saying they have to be Mormon, but our country was founded in part on the saying "In God We Trust" and if they can't wholeheartedly agree then I don't think they should lead the country. And as my wife put so well, "they need someone higher up to answer to." Perhaps that's why it's one nation under God.