Monthly Archives: April 2009

I Love These Kids!

These little guys bring us so much frustration and so much joy!! I’d do anything for them.


(Robin says James got jipped on this photo shoot; the older kids got pictures on Easter when they were looking good. James had just woken up from a nap.)


Posted by on April 29, 2009 in Family


Bye Bye Binkie

Just about two weeks ago, baby James turned 18 months — a milestone for our family. The next day he went into nursery at church and played with the other children, had his first Sunday School lesson and ate treats with the kiddies. It was great to get rid of him during gospel doctrine (the last few months we’ve been chasing him around the room), but it was kind of sad too. 

What’s more, he no longer uses a pacifier. Robin and I have always set the goal to ween our children off the “binkie” by 18 months. And so, James had his last binkie experience a few days ago. He went for a week without it and then relapsed on Sunday. But he’s been “binkie free” ever since. He’s done pretty well so far, although he’s woken up crying in the night a few times, probably because of an incoming tooth.

Now, I am a pretty nostalgic guy and the discontinuation of the binkie is a bit sad for me. If James is indeed our last child (and Robin assures me that he is), then there will be no more binkies (my mom used to call them “nukies.”) It’s the end of an era. My kiddies are growing up. Lily is just a couple months away from starting kindergarten; Brianna is preparing to be baptized this summer and Parley is almost one decade old. Amazing! In just a few months they will be 10, 8, 5 and 1.5. Parley and Brianna can now ride all of the rides at Disneyworld. They both can read clearly. I have to face it, they’re growing up!

I can’t say that I’ll miss the diapers when James gets potty trained. At that point we’ll have had about ten cumulative years of diaper changes. If you estimate at least five diaper changes a day for all those years, it works out to be more than 18,000 diapers and an estimated $6,000 on diapers and wipes. Yikes!

To me, there is something kind of sad about the loss of innocence that comes with growing up. Last weekend, I decided to take Parley on a boy scout campout because I was tired of spending so much time with other people’s children and not enough time with my own. During the drive, one of the boys told a joke whose punch line “outed” Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. Naturally, most 12 year old boys don’t believe in Santa any more, but what about my boy? I’m not sure what he believes — I think he pretty much knows the truth (you know, about how we’ve been lying to him all his life), but he still likes playing along. Then again, perhaps he still believes — or at least he did until the boys talked about the fictitious nature of the jolly of elf!

Once, when I was 8 or 9, my mom found me crying in my bedroom on Christmas night. She naturally assumed that I was disappointed with my presents or something. When she asked me about the tears, I told her it was because I loved Christmas so much that I was really sad to see it end. Like I said, I’m nostalgic. I love being the father of my four little kids. They’re so cute, even if they are often annoying, messy and disobedient. I’m enjoying this whole parenthood thing very much. And seeing my kiddies grow up is exciting and fun, but a little bit sad too…


Baby James, sans pacifier

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Posted by on April 23, 2009 in Family


Like Father, Like Son

Today is my nine-year-old son Parley’s first day back to school after his three-week “off track” time. He was up at 6:30 and I found this doodle pad with his To Do list written on it. It made me smile. Like his father, he’s a list person.


I like the last one: “Sit on vent,” meaning the heater vent at our house that he likes to sit on to get warm. Ah, the simple life of a young boy…


Posted by on April 20, 2009 in Silly Stuff


Toyota Trouble

For almost ten years, I have been the owner of a forest green 1995 Toyota Camry. It had 70,000 miles on it and now it has 215,000! That’s a lot of miles over the course of the past decade! I am happy to report that the car has been extremely reliable and has served me well. I bought it when it was four years old for $10,000. It is now probably worth less than $3,000, but it’s been paid for now for about five years. I took it in today for an oil change and left a few hours later several hundred dollars poorer. Yes, it needed some work and I couldn’t put it off any longer. I got new tires, a new CV Boot and axle, as well as front brake service. I looked at my records and realized that I’ve spent about $4,000 on the car over the years, including:

  • Four sets of tires (replaced about every three years)
  • Three batteries
  • Three brake jobs
  • Two radiators
  • Two CV Boots
  • One new axel
  • One alternator
  • One tail light (had to replace it after someone hit me and ran)
  • One new timing belt (replaced more than 120,000 miles ago)
  • Two windshield wipers
  • Various light bulbs, etc.

Pretty much all of those things are general maintenance items. Thankfully, my Camry’s engine has been really good. I haven’t had problems with water pumps or trasmissions… knock on wood. Toyotas are really quite good cars. When I first got it, I thought it was the best car ever. It felt so good to drive after having driven an electric blue Ford Escort with pink swirls on the side (the car my wife brought to the marriage). Now the paint job is fading, the interior is dirty, the upholstry is stained and a big section of the back floor carpet is missing due to an unfortunate paint spill several years ago. (It was a whole gallon of paint that tipped over while we were driving home from the Home Depot; had to just tear out the carpet it was so bad.)

Anyway, would I like a new car? Sure. Someday. But as long as my Camry keeps getting me from Point A to Point B reliably, I will keep driving it. It sure is nice to not have a car payment. Hopefully, I can start saving up for a replacement car and pay cash for it as Dave Ramsey suggests. What kind of car would you suggest? I am partial to Toyotas and Hondas because they are so reliable. But I’m open to suggestions.


Posted by on April 8, 2009 in Random Thoughts