Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Another Year Older

I turned another year older on Saturday. I must say, this was one of the best birthdays I can remember because of the gifts my family gave. Here is a list of the loot:
  • Melanie: Cupcakes. These "Black Bottom Cupcakes" are a little slice of heaven on earth.
  • Kylee: She wrapped a Book of Mormon from her closet, with a used Christmas tag taped on the front cover that said "Merry Christmas from the Thomas'." She also found a Scentsy warmer that she wrapped.
  • Danica: She wrapped her First Grade workbook as well as some ornaments from the Christmas tree. She also included two butterscotch candies.
  • Jackson: He made a cute birthday card, a Christmas ornament, and gave me an article from the newspaper about the Utah Jazz.

I was touched by how much thought they had put into the gifts, and how excited they were to see what they had prepared for me. Aside from this little experience, it was the perfect day. I have eaten enough cupcakes to feed all of Norway.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Merry Christmas! Our Year In Review

Behold.....our electronic Christmas card:

We have had an incredible year at the Reese house. Looking back at 2009, I’m surprised at how much we were able to pack into the year. Here are a few journal entries and a recap of our 2009 adventures. You’ll notice that the theme of barf pops up just a little too often. My apologies. It’s just that barf is pretty funny.

January 8, 2009
We hung out at Mel’s mom’s house for New Years Eve. The festivities and fun of the evening ended promptly when Kylee launched barf all over the floor. Then she launched again. Then as I was helping her move toward the bathroom she launched again, all over me and my leg. I felt bad for her. I don’t know what got into her.

February 10, 2009
This morning when I was getting ready for work Kylee came into my room with a church dress, tights, shoes, and a matching flower in her hair. She was so proud to tell me that she chose her clothes and combed her hair. I told her how beautiful she looked and she said “You should marry me when I get bigger.” I had a smile on my face and she said “You’ll have to buy me a white dress though.” I said okay. Then she got an excited look on her face and said “You can get it at Wal-Mart!”

March 2, 2009
In the evening Mel ran in to the living room laughing hysterically. It took a few minutes before she could say what she was laughing at. Apparently when she was tucking the girls in to bed, Danica climbed up on her bunkbed and said “What the helllllll happened to my bed? (very drawn out).

August 17, 2009
Kylee said something funny to me yesterday. We were sitting at the table eating breakfast and she said “Dad, when we go to heaven will we have to eat our food storage?” I told her I didn’t think we’d have to do that in heaven. I told her I thought there was every kind of food we could ever want and we could have as much as we wanted. Her eyes got so big and she was really excited. Then she said “Ooohhh! I want to die right now! Then I can have as many candy corns as I want!” More proof that she’s my daughter.

August 27, 2009
When I got home from work Monday evening, my stomach felt terrible and I told Mel I wouldn’t make it through the night without throwing up.

So at 9:40pm the barfing began. I threw up a ridiculous amount of vomit. I was kind of surprised my stomach had that much in it. As I was walking to the bathroom to empty my garbage can full of barf, Danica came running in from her bedroom and launched right into the garbage can before I even had a chance to empty it. It was miserable and funny at the same time. We spent the rest of the night on the couch taking turns upchucking.

In March Jackson and I went to Las Vegas to watch two Cubs spring training games. The first night we enjoyed $18 worth of nachos, popcorn, and soda at the game. I dearly regretted that decision. I was so nauseous a few hours later. I spent the rest of the night with a nasty Vegas motel garbage can on my lap begging to throw up, but to no avail. Grrrr.

In April Kylee got her tonsils out. Thank goodness for the barf basins at the surgery center. Otherwise I would have been wearing stomach acid.

Also in April, Mel and I spent a week in Washington DC with my parents and my brother’s family. We had an incredible trip. We saw the White House, Smithsonian museums, all the monuments, the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, and George Washington’s house. Over the course of that week I ate an absolutely obscene amount of Dunkin’ Donuts. God bless the USA. And Dunkin’ Donuts.

Mel and I were put in charge of Youth Conference this year and took the kids on a Pioneer Trek in July. We had an amazing experience and couldn’t think of anything we’d rather do with sweaty teenagers. Our feast on the final day was a true celebration of our rich heritage: large amounts of Little Caesar’s Pizza and countless boxes of Twinkies and Ding Dongs.

Jackson got baptized in August. We also got a phone call from the school district in August. They said that Jackson read the most books of anyone in the school over the summer. Because of this, they asked him to throw the first pitch at the St. George Roadrunners baseball game. It was a Proud Father moment. I’m hoping someone from the Cubs organization will call next.

Mel and I have taken up the hobby of running over the last year. In July we ran the Bryce Canyon Half Marathon. For those of you who haven’t experienced the pain of a marathon or half marathon, let me explain how it feels. Imagine the most painful things you can think of. For example, 1) Getting paper cuts on your eyeballs, or 2) Reading Shakespeare, or 3) Listening to Celine Dion music. Now…put them all together. Celine Dion is giving you paper cuts on your eyeballs with pages from Shakespeare while she sings the National Anthem. Now you have an idea of the torture of running a long race.

In October I ran my first marathon, the St. George Marathon. I can’t think of a logical explanation for why someone would willingly pay $75 to suffer through something like this. It’s as puzzling as why some people like Celine Dion music. Despite the pain, it was an incredible experience and I felt a huge sense of accomplishment. I plan to do it again. To read about the experience visit fastcory.blogspot.com (FYI: I have no Celine Dion music on my iPod.)

We feel so thankful for our family and all of our blessings. We sometimes have to pinch ourselves and wonder why we got so lucky. We hope your family has an awesome Christmas and New Year. And we pray that no Celine Dion CDs will end up in your stocking. Sincerely, The Reese’s

Monday, December 14, 2009

Best Music Of 2009

There has been some awesome music released this year. As a self-proclaimed music junkie, I'm pleased to announce my top picks for 2009:

7. Mat Kearney – City Of Black And White
This is just a solid album of “adult alternative” music. There isn’t necessarily anything that will make your jaw hit the floor, but almost all the songs fall into the “Pretty Darn Good” category.

6. Brad Paisley – American Saturday Night
Generally country music isn’t my thing, but I admit that there are some pretty good tunes here. Albeit highly sappy, I like the song “Then”. You be the judge.

5. The Fray – The Fray
Although their song “You Found Me” got a ton of radio play, there are plenty of other equally good songs on this disc. My favorites are “Absolute” and “Never Say Never”.

4. Britt Nicole – The Lost Get Found
I think Britt has one of the best female voices around. There are a few songs on this CD that are just alright, but most are really good. I love the title track and “Safe”. But the closing song “Have Your Way” is enough to yank you out of your seat. Especially on this song, her voice is raw, sincere, and powerful. “Have Your Way” has lyrics you should not miss.

3. Matthew West – When I Say I Do
Matthew’s album “Something To Say” won the top spot on my Best Music Of 2008 list. While he didn’t release a full album this year, he did put out this song, “When I Say I Do” which was awarded KLOVE’s Next Great Love Song. You’ll like this one.

2. Steven Curtis Chapman – Beauty Will Rise
I’m not a tremendously emotional person, but these songs brought me to tears. Steven’s five year old daughter died last year and each song grew from that experience. This is the most personal music I have ever heard. The most touching thing about this album is the faith, trust, and hope he sings of. Each song seems to shed a little bit different light on God. Suffice it to say that no description I give would do justice to this stunning music. You just have to hear it. Although it’s hard to listen to, I absolutely love this album.

Here's the opening song "Heaven Is The Face".

And finally.....The Best Album Of The Year......

1. OneRepublic – Waking Up

I didn’t think it was possible to get any better than OneRepublic’s first album Dreaming Out Loud. But it happened. The CD is chock full of strings, piano, and music that would make Coldplay jealous. Every song has such a unique sound and style. I am worried that I will wear out this CD from playing it so often. This is easily my favorite CD of the year. It. Is. Brilliant.

Here is their song “Secrets” from the CD. Apparently it will be on the soundtrack to an upcoming movie as you’ll see in this video. Nevermind the video, but enjoy the music.

Any other music you'd like to add to the list?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Cool Christmas Music

Did you say you wanted some awesome Christmas music? I love this song from Casting Crowns.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Medical Procedures To Avoid

As a courtesy to my friends and readers, allow me to provide a list of medical procedures you should avoid. I learned the hard way that these are not my idea of a good time.

1) Foley Catheter. Many years ago following a surgery, a well-intentioned doctor gave me Compazine, a medication to minimize nausea. For the next few days my muscles tightened like a full-body charley horse. Another slight side effect was the fact that I didn't go to the bathroom for a few days.

Eventually I ended up in the ER. The problem was so obvious that even the receptionist knew what was wrong: an allergic reaction to Compazine. That medication often causes muscle spasms. And the bladder refusing to do what it's supposed to do. Grrrr.

For the blissfully ignorant, a catheter is a fat tube inserted into the bladder to release all the yellow water. And there's only one way to get the tube into the bladder. Ouch. Ouch.

A cute young nurse walked in with the near-lethal rubber tube. "Turn your head and cough" is a gross understatement. I'm confident that I levitated between five and six inches off the table. My life flashed in front of me. I saw stars. This is not an experience I'd recommend.

2) Barium Swallow. Many moons ago a well-intentioned doctor thought I may have reflux where some of the stomach acid comes back up your esophagus. And how, you ask, do you find out if you have acid reflux? Simple - swallow an element from the periodic table.

Barium is like the evil, evil brother of Pepto Bismol. Like a mixture of chalk and spillage from the septic system.

The technician handed me a big bottle and said "Here, drink this. And don't be sassy or I'll make you drink another bottle." I took a few swallows. Then I was supposed to drink some more. I got the barium in my mouth. But my stomach threw an all-out rebellion. I physically could not swallow it. I stood there for a minute with a mouth full of barium before I was able to gag it down. I reached up to wipe away some of the pink drool spilling out of my mouth. I wanted to drop-kick the doctor who thought I might have reflux.

3) Having Blood Drawn. I'll be the first to admit that I'm an enormous sissy when it comes to needles. One time when I had my blood drawn, I had an unfortunate outcome. I didn't watch the nurse put the needle in my arm (never have and never will). I felt a little prick but it didn't really hurt.

Suddenly I woke up to some strangers with concerned faces talking to me. I could see a lady's mouth moving but I couldn't hear anything. I didn't know who they were. I didn't know where I was. I didn't feel good. My lunch decided it didn't want to me in my stomach anymore. After a few minutes I realized what had happened, and what a huge pansy I was. What a wussie to pass out when you have your blood drawn.

So let this be a lesson to you. Avoid needles, barium, and any tubes near your groin. You can't say you weren't warned.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Piano Playing Marathon

I am in the midst of my annual piano-playing marathon. Over the next week I will spend more than 70 hours (70!!!) at the Dixie Center, with much of that time spent playing the piano. Click here to read last year’s experience.

I’ll be playing at the Dicken’s Festival tomorrow (Wednesday) through Saturday. Stop by and say hello.

As physically challenging as it is to play the piano this much, I love to opportunity to visit with my piano peeps: the kind people who have supported my music career over the years. I’m so thankful for you and the opportunities I have had with my music.

I think you have to have thick skin as a musician. My music is so personal, and each song is an almost uncomfortably revealing exposure of my feelings. The music is a way of bearing my soul, and it’s sometimes difficult to see someone walk past, oblivious to what they are hearing. Being a musician has a way of teaching you how to handle rejection.

But then there’s the other end of the spectrum. Seeing people connect with the music and express appreciation for how the music moved them really means a lot to me. I feel humbled and inadequate when I hear stories of how the music helped someone through a hard time in their life.

A few days ago a girl came up and opened one of my sheet music books and played one of my songs that she had been practicing. She is going to play the song in her music class tomorrow for extra credit. Watching someone play one of my songs is rewarding and just plain cool.

So to those of you who have supported my music over the years, thank you. Seriously. Thanks. My God grant you all the Twinkies your heart desires. (And heaven knows my heart desires lots of Twinkies.)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Muu Muu Mishap

A series of funny problems happened to Mel a few days ago. The mess all started when she was supposed to pick up Kylee from Kindergarten at 10:40am.

Problem #1: She had worked at the hospital the night before and slept through her alarm. At 10:44am she popped up out of bed and realized she was late. Panic sets in.

Problem #2: She only had her undergarments on, so she grabbed for the first article of clothing she saw before darting out the door: a hideous, bright pink muu muu. She figured it wouldn't matter what she was wearing. The kids wait outside to be picked up, so she could just pull up to the curb and Kylee would get in the car.

Problem #3: It was cold and windy outside so the teachers took all the kids inside who had delinquent, slacker parents who don't come to school on time to pick up their kids.

Problem #4: Here's the fatal flaw: In her haste to rush to the school, Mel forgot to grab her cell phone. She couldn't just call the school and have them send Kylee outside.

Problem #5: Mel was wearing a hideous, bright pink muu muu.

Mel said that she had a conversation with herself as she sat in the car. "Do I just go inside to get Kylee?" "Should I drive home and get my cell phone?" "Should I run to my mom's house to call the school?" After her debate, she concluded that she was by now 15 minutes late and didn't want to extend her delay any longer.

Problem #6: She walked INTO THE SCHOOL wearing a HIDEOUS, BRIGHT PINK MUU MUU. (I'll give you a minute for this mental picture to sink in.)

Problem #7: A few older kids were walking down the hall and saw her in her hideous, bright pink muu muu. AND GIGGLED!

Fortunately Kylee isn't old enough to realize that she could have potentially been the laughing stock of the school. For your pleasure, here is a photograph of the alleged hideous, bright pink muu muu:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Snuggies Make Me Angry

Snuggies make me angry. There. I said it. I can't get away from this commercial. It follows me any time I turn on the television.

There are so many highly disturbing things about this video:
  • The poor dog who becomes a victim of animal cruelty.
  • The guy who was raising the roof about his Snuggie. Raising. The. Roof. My soul wept.
  • Really? People wear Snuggies to the movie theater? Or a sporting event? Admittedly, I don't have much room to talk after what I wore in public.
  • Is this family in a cult?
  • Wait. Hold on a second. The dog was reading. Can you imagine the pre-production meeting? Who was the marketing guru who said "You know the shot of the dog? Let's have him reading!" And worse, which people said "Yea, that sounds like a pretty good idea!"
  • Um, why does the dog need a Snuggie? God gave dogs fur so they wouldn't have to wear a Snuggie.
  • Alright, you make the dog wear a Snuggie. Then you make the dog look like it's reading. But are the glasses necessary? Now that's just wrong.
  • Please explain why that guy is so unusually happy because of his Snuggie. Are they marketing Snuggies as an anti-depressant?
  • Apparently wearing a Snuggie makes you want to dance and bump your rump with your wife's rump.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I'm Going To New Moon!

I'm going to the movie New Moon.........never. Never. Ever.

The whole Twilight Series, love stories about vampires, women drooling all over themselves. It just doesn't do it for me.

Okay, maybe that's a bit harsh. I would go to the movie if....
  • My children were being held hostage by an evil terrorist and I had to see the movie to get my kids back.
  • The Diet Mountain Dew manufacturer threatened to stop producing this heavenly nectar unless I saw the movie.
  • It were the last movie on earth. Actually, that still wouldn't get me there.
  • An ostrich grabbed me with it's enormous beak, dragged me to the theater, gagged my mouth with sweaty socks, and bound me to the chair with duct tape.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

How To Remove A Tooth

Tonight we witnessed triumph. It happened sometime between the time she started eating the donut and the time she finished eating the donut. That's when Danica lost her first tooth.

This created a moment of panic when she realized that the required evidence for the Tooth Fairy was now passing through her large intestine. I could relate. I lost my first tooth in the midst of a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios. Come to think of it, those were some extremely crunchy Cheerios.

I assured her that a note to the Tooth Fairy should suffice. She quickly wrote this disclaimer:

Der tooth farey. I accidentally swolowd my tooth on aksadint. Now I'll show you how I lost my tooth at frst I wigld it then I wigld it the next morning. Then on the next feow days I was reading a book then my dad asked me to show him my tooth then he sade when I showed him my tooth he sade your tooth is gon sade my dad. Then I looked in the mer. Then when I looked in the mer I sade Oh-my-goosh. That was my frst tooth that I evre LOST.

In case you're not well-versed in reading 6 year old gibberish,
aksadint = accident
wigld = wiggled
sade = said
mer = mirror
Oh-my-goosh = Oh-my-goosh
Donut = better at removing a tooth than string tied to a door knob

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Recommended Reading

Recently I've read two amazing books that are worth checking out:

NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman.
Working in the social work and therapy field, I've read lots of books about parenting over the years. But this one ranks among the best. The research brought up by the authors is fascinating and has definitely made me take another look at what I do as a parent.

Some of the best topics of the book include 1) The inverse power of praise, 2) Why kids lie, 3) The science of teen rebellion, and 4) Amazing research about teaching kids self-control. If you have children, this is a book you need to read.

Have A Little Faith by Mitch Albom

I loved Albom's book Tuesday's With Morrie but never read any of his other books. Mainly because I knew I'd be disappointed. There is no way you could top Morrie.

I took a risk and decided to take on his new book Have A Little Faith. The story revolves around the preparation he makes to deliver the eulogy of his rabbi. I don't know how he did it, but Albom managed to write another book that is just as good.

The story is engaging and has profound ideas about life, death, and believing in something bigger than yourself. I guarantee you will love this book.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Jon Schmidt Concert

Before last night's concert I told Jon that my kids think his music is way cooler than mine. His response was classic. "No man is a prophet in his own house."

Last night we took the kids to Jon Schmidt's concert in St. George. They are all taking piano lessons and were ecstatic to go to Jon's show. Earlier in the day they told the nurse who gave them a flu shot. They told someone at the grocery store. They told their friends.

Jon's music and technical ability at the piano are brilliant. His way of entertaining and engaging a crowd is even more brilliant. It's rare to see an entire theater completely mesmerized like they were Thursday night.

My saving grace was a guy who came up to me after the show and said "Are you Cory Reese? I love your music!" Had this not occured, I am confident that my kids would have asked Jon to adopt them.

Be sure to check out Jon's site HERE for some amazing tunes. Success couldn't have come to a nicer guy. Jon quickly became a prophet in the Reese household.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Me In Middle School

I saw this odd/funny video on a friend's blog. I have a nagging hunch that I resembled this youngster when I was in middle school. I didn't know he had been in my house raiding my closet.

Although I'll never claim being able to do The Robot this good.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Vanishing Act

I'm a little embarrassed to share the following picture with you:

This is documentation of what has transpired over the last few days. This nearly empty pie tin WAS a Costco pumpkin pie. And do you want to know why I feel a little bit sheepish?

I'll tell you: Not one solitary soul ate another piece of that pie besides me. NOT ONE. And it only took me a few days to polish it off. I'm drooling whipped cream. Ahhh, the sweet caloric goodness of autumn.

In case you haven't had the pleasure of indulging in a Costco pumpkin pie, let me tell you something: these pies are big enough to feed a small country. You can see from the picture that this piece of heaven dwarfs our 4-slice toaster.

Mel noticed the empty tin and bought me another pie yesterday. It is reasonable to expect that my blood stream is turning orange.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Man At Work

It's happened every Tuesday night for years. And it will continue to happen every Tuesday night so long as we both shall live. I turn the music up loud, get my game face on, gather my supplies, get in the zone, wink at myself in the mirror, roll up my sleeves, and send the kids upstairs because papa has an important job to do. At our house, Tuesday Night = Floor Night.

Somewhere along the course of our many years of marriage I became in charge of mopping the floors. I do my chore every Tuesday like clockwork. With a dog and three rug rats, one week is about as long as the floor can go before it feels like you're walking on a compost heap.

It's not like I'm an expert mopper, but I get the job done. Although I'm confident enough in my work to follow the Ten-Second-Rule when I accidentally drop a Lemonhead, I certainly wouldn't advocate eating Thanksgiving dinner off the floor.

I'm proud to say that in my house, I wear the mopping crown. I am the mopping Master of Disaster. I have a Ph. D in mopping. I am the mopping CEO. All hail the Commander in Chief of mopping.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

My Frightening Costume

I looked simply ridiculous. You have to be immensely comfortable with your manhood to wear a Bert costume......to work, and........into a gas station. When it's not even Halloween.

As you are well aware, Halloween was on a Saturday this year. But I couldn't break my streak of dressing up at work for Halloween. One year I was a nerd (I know, not much of a stretch). Another year, a rapper. This year - Bert from Sesame Street fame. Therefore.....costume on Friday. It was a challenge fighting all the hot babes off me. Understandably, girls go wild for a guy wearing a Bert costume.

This year Danica was a devil. We pulled out the Halloween bin and she fell in love with this costume which my mom made for me when I was Danica's age. Ahhh, how sentimental.

In the break room a few days ago people were talking about saving old Halloween costumes. I said that Danica was wearing a devil costume that I wore as a kid. I commented that this costume seemed fittingly appropriate for her.

Without hesitation, a witty nurse said "I'm sure your mother thought the same thing when she was making the costume for you."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

She Has A Big Chest

Every girl should wear a dress. Always.

And every dress should have a big, beautiful bow. Always.

Just ask my daughter Danica. She loves to draw. She loves to draw girls in dresses. She loves to draw girls in dresses with big, beautiful bows.

At least she claims they are bows. Is it just me, or do the cute little girls look more like well-endowed stick figures?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My Wrinkly Pumpkin

My pumpkin is getting wrinkly. It reminds me of an old man who forgot to put his dentures in.

The kid's pumpkins have already rotted to the point where it looked like someone had vomited on our porch. Despite the "smiling-barf-with-a-stem" look the pumpkins had acquired, the kids were still distraught when we decided it was time for the pumpkins to meet a garbage can.

To deal with their immense grief......they adopted my toothless senior citizen.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Scary Moments

There are a few times in my life when I knew some guardian angels were watching over me.

***One night when I was 20 years old I was out on a walk with Mel. We were on a bike path and it was very dark outside. Suddenly, in the distance we heard a motor start. It was too dark to see what it was or how far away it was. A few seconds later I saw movement rapidly coming toward us. I grabbed Mel’s arm and yanked her off the path a split second before a truck flew by.

Later, police found the teenage boy who was driving the truck. He said he didn’t turn on the lights because he was hiding from some friends. He sped down the bike path because he thought they were coming from the other direction and he didn’t see us. I walked away with only some scraped up knees.

***When I was 16 years old Mel and I left her house to walk across the street to the high school. She lived on State Street in Salt Lake. The cars were speeding by when finally I thought there was a break in the traffic. I went to run across the street and stepped one foot over the white line when a car rushed by, coming so close that it hit my arm.

There was an RV to the side of me which had blocked my view. The driver slammed on his brakes after he hit my arm to see what had happened. Because of the limited view, he hadn’t seen me either. If I had been a few inches farther I would have been crushed by a car going 45 mph. That makes you think about life a little differently.

***Another guardian angel moment happened yesterday. I was driving to work and noticed my car acting strange. I stopped at a gas station to put air in the tires and saw that a front tire was completely worn down and I could see the metal thread popping out. There was a rip in the tire and I didn’t know how it was staying inflated.

We dropped the car off at the mechanic who later told Mel that he was surprised the tire hadn’t blown out between our house and his shop. The scary thing is that the day before, I drove with my brother-in-law and Jackson to Parowan to take some pictures of the changing leaves. I had driven more than 200 miles on the freeway. It’s unsettling to think of what could have happened while we drove down the road.

I’m thankful someone was watching out for us.

Monday, October 26, 2009

More Than Messy

Our upstairs is a disaster zone. You have to wear a bio hazard suit to enter the premises. I don’t know what happened up there. It could have been:

  • The remnants of a bomb explosion.
  • The aftermath of Hurricane Offspring.
  • A hungry wolverine scoured the closets looking for little children to eat for supper.
  • A group of homeless carnival workers moved in and tried to turn stuffed animals and crayons into a Ferris Wheel.

    Or maybe it’s because we have three little kids.

    The bedrooms and family room upstairs are in such a state of disarray and chaos that all you can do is shake your head and go back downstairs. It isn’t even worth getting mad at the kids. It is so messy that you get depressed even thinking about where to start cleaning up. You consider the possibility that the damage is beyond repair.

    How did this happen? I thought we were attentive and involved parents. Judging by how our upstairs looks, you’d think we went to the Bahamas for two weeks and left the six year old in charge.

    I’m considering starting a fire upstairs to take care of the mess. Then we can just start over again. Let’s start from scratch. I’d roll in a bulldozer if only the mess were on the bottom level of the house. Please….pray for our family. And call the Red Cross.

    Does this happen at anybody else’s house?
  • Friday, October 23, 2009

    CSI: Hurricane

    My spouse loves the show CSI. I truly can not understand why. It's violent. The acting is horrific. The plot is amazingly predictible. Every terrible show is the same. But she likes them all. You name it: CSI New York, CSI Las Vegas, CSI Miami. She's a fan.

    I have come up with some story lines if they ever want to do a show about my home town: CSI Hurricane, Utah.

    Episode #1: Who stole Brother Hall's tractor?

    Episode #2: Breaking up the fist fight at Walmart over the last can of food storage rice.

    Episode #3: Man is taken to jail for wearing sandles over his socks.

    Episode #4: Police respond to a disgruntled woman upset that the neighbor's roosters wake her up every morning.

    Episode #5: A certain neighborhood petitions the court to increase the legal limit of yard art.

    Episode #6: Did he actually PAY for THAT haircut? (The violator: the Mayor who is also the city barber.) (Disclaimer: I've never heard any complaints about the Mayor's haircuts. Please....please don't raise my taxes.)

    So there you go. CSI.....you're welcome. Feel free to pass on any royalties. I'll need them to pay my tax increase.

    Did I miss any episodes?

    Wednesday, October 21, 2009

    Great New Music - Britt Nicole

    I have to tell you about an incredible new CD by a singer named Britt Nicole. Her album "The Lost Get Found" is some of the best music I've heard in a long time. She has an amazing voice and catchy songs.

    The song styles vary from happy and energetic to sincere and heartfelt like this one:

    This one hasn't left my CD player for quite a while. You can pick it up from Amazon for $6.99! (Click on the album cover for the link.) Enjoy!

    Tuesday, October 20, 2009

    Thanksgiving Point Pictures

    I recently came across these photos on my memory card. A few weeks ago our fam went to the gardens at Thanksgiving Point.

    Kylee was the only child in the mood to have pictures taken of her. The other offspring clearly didn't realize that they were in the midst of a photographer's paradise.

    Monday, October 19, 2009

    One Week Of Happy

    I have concluded my week of conscious effort to be happy. And my week of wearing a rubber band on my wrist for a reminding snap when I start to get sassy or grumpy.

    I've noticed a few things:

    1) I've been more aware of when I'm going to say something whiny or complain. And sometimes I decide to bite my tongue.

    2) Sometimes it's worth taking a snap on the wrist when something really ticks you off and you say an occasional word you shouldn't say.

    3) A wrist can stay red longer than you'd think. Hmmm. Who knew.
    4) If you smile at people, they smile back. And it makes you happy.

    Making a concerted effort to smile, be happy and positive, and refrain from complaining has been good for me. I definitely haven't been perfect (just ask any family member). But by golly, I have less red marks on my wrist than I did a week ago.

    Sunday, October 18, 2009

    We Have Mice

    We've got mice at work.

    Clue #1: Little brown droppings on the break room table. And they weren't chocolate chips if you know what I mean.
    Clue #2: Molly had a bag of chips in her drawer. She lifted up the bag one day and chips came spilling out the bottom of the bag. Courtesy of a huge hole chewed in the bottom.
    Clue #3: The half-eaten Reese's Peanut Butter Cup in my desk. Heaven knows I Would Never leave anything half-eaten.
    So the manager gave me a fancy new mouse trap. The mouse pushes down a little lever to get inside the trap to get his food, but the lever springs back up when they get in and...PRESTO....they're stuck in the trap.

    Unfortunately, the mouse trap I've used in my office that lets mice in the trap but they can't get out......hasn't worked so great. Maybe mice are tag-teaming to let each other out after the buffet. After loading the trap three times I've come to know his food preferences. Here are the grades he would give each food:

    Peanut butter granola bar: B (Not as good as chips, but it's better than nothing.)

    Frosted sugar cookie: D (He'd have to be really hungry to eat this. Obviously hunger isn't much of an issue here. A little nibble is enough.)
    Cashews: A+ (Life does not get any better.)

    Almonds: F (Only in circumstances of desperation would he go for this.)
    I gave up on the fancy mouse trap. I bought me a pack of the real deal traps. The You-Touch-This-Puppy-And-Your-Body-Will-Be-Snapped-In-Half traps. Suddenly the mouse has decided he isn't so hungry anymore. My traps have sat empty for a week now.
    I'll get you my pretty.......and your little tail too.

    Tuesday, October 13, 2009

    Be Happy - Day 1

    I've been listening to Malcolm Gladwell's book "Blink". The whole book is fascinating, but I was particularly intrigued by research on emotion. He talked about studies linking how we feel physically with what we portray on our face. The studies showed that smiling and being positive has a direct, positive physiological effect. Likewise, frowning or thinking about negative things has negative effects on how we feel physically.

    That got me thinking. I know people who are grumpy or have something to complain about no matter what. I also know people who are "doing good" and being positive no matter what.

    I decided that I am going to make a conscious effort to be positive and not complain. For the next week I'm going to work extra hard to be friendly and happy. I'm going to focus on smiling. I have also put a rubber band on my wrist that I can snap to give a gentle reminder when I catch myself whining or being negative.

    I've had to make use of it a few times today on Be Happy - Day 1. I caught myself telling Mel in a slightly whiny voice that I had a headache. SNAP! Ouch. Note to self: don't whine. I think everyone can find a multitude of physical ailments, but for this week I'm not going to give them focus or attention. So there body! You're just going to have to suck it up.

    Here's the thing:

    People who always complain still have at least a few good things going for them. They just choose to focus on the bad parts instead of the good. Sometimes I'm in this boat. And...

    People who are always doing good still have bad things going on. People who are positive don't have any less physical problems or family difficulties or work struggles. They just choose to focus on the good parts. I want to be more like this.

    It's possible that I'll be snapping my wrist so much this week that the rubber band will break. But if it does, I'm not going to complain. I'll just get another rubber band.

    Monday, October 5, 2009

    Injury At The Reese House

    You shouldn't laugh at people when they get hurt. No matter how funny the injury was, it is just plain rude to laugh at someone who just got hurt. Mel's sister and brother-in-law don't practice this Golden Rule EVER. It's always hilarious when someone else gets hurt. But when an injury befalls them, they throw a temper tantrum if someone even cracks a smile.

    It's simply not in my personality to laugh at someone who is suffering. Except for last week.

    Mel was in the kitchen and I heard her yell in pain. Then she came into the bedroom crying, huge tears rolling down her face. I was concerned and felt bad, but had no idea what happened. Finally her crying subsided long enough to tell me the cause of her injury........she shut her nose in the cupboard.

    I tried with every fiber of my being to keep a straight face. "Quick, Cory! Think of something sad! You're dog just got hit by a car! They need to amputate your wee-wee-wee-all-the-way-home toe! Hostess went out of business!" I gave all I had, but eventually a smirk crawled across my face. Then, without any warning, I burst into laughter.

    Even with her red nose and teardrops, I couldn't help myself. Cognitively I couldn't understand how an injury like that could happen. It simply does not make sense. She tried to explain it to me but I'm still unable to wrap my brain around how that kind of brutality is possible.

    I'm thinking I will affix this sign to our cupboard. At least then maybe next time this injury occurs, Mel can say she did it on purpose.

    Sunday, October 4, 2009

    St. George Marathon 2009

    St. George Marathon – 4 Hours 25 Minutes

    I got 4 hours of sleep before the alarm went off at 3:15am. Ouch. I rode the bus to the starting line with the Dansie’s, Nielson’s, Shelley, and Darrel. That bus ride seemed to take FOREVER!

    We arrived at the starting line amid the chaos of thousands of people, bright lights, and loud music. I was nervous and excited and cold. We took a few photos before heading to the bonfires.

    The guy on the loudspeaker would come on every once in a while saying it was 39 or 40 degrees. We were cold, but in terms of racing weather, you could not have picked a better day for the marathon. The starting line had long rows of bonfires that we huddled around to try and stay warm.

    A horn sounded and the marathon began. A mile or two into the race, the sun started to come up. I had to pull over to the side a few times to take some pictures. The sunrise was beautiful.

    It was a crazy feeling to be among a sea of thousands of runners. It was a little claustrophobic to not be able to speed up or move around. I was praying that I didn’t step on someone or have someone step on me.

    Early in the race I glanced over to the left and my jaw dropped. I’m being totally serious – running right to the left of me was Abraham Lincoln! I ran the St. George Marathon with Lincoln. I felt too sheepish to pull out my camera and take a picture of him, but trust me, this guy looked exactly like Lincoln. If this happened at the end, I’d attribute it to a hallucination, but this happened at the beginning. When race pictures are posted, I’ll scour the photos to see if I can show him to you.

    By mile 8 we were in the midst of the dreaded Veyo Hill. One of the best signs I saw was in the middle of the hill. It said “Don’t you wish you were a Transformer right now?” The wave of people heading for the hill made me need to stop again for a few more pictures.

    Before the hill started a guy named Andrew asked if we new each other. We talked for a while but concluded that even though I looked familiar to him, we didn’t know each other. It was nice to talk to him for the next five miles and have a bit of a distraction from the pain.

    It was his first marathon too and we both didn’t know what to expect. We were trusting the pace group leader to get us to the end. But somewhere in the craziness of a drink station we lost each other and I never saw him again.

    My plan was to stay with the 4 hour pace group. The pace group leader was experienced and I trusted that he knew what he was doing way more than me. I paid for this decision later though. When he came to a drink station he would grab a drink and then sprint ahead. I didn’t want to lose sight of him so I’d speed up for the next few minutes to catch up to him. I was right next to him until each drink station when he would dart ahead.

    At the mile 15 drink station I decided this wasn’t working for me, but I think by then it was too late. It was disheartening when I grabbed a drink, then looked ahead to see his balloons way down the road.

    I committed the cardinal sin of running a race – going out too fast. Comparing the suggested pace chart to my actual miles makes this blatantly obvious. If I had stuck with this chart instead of the pacer I might have had more strength at the end. Notice the yellow area where my wheels completely fall off the cart:

    By this time I wasn’t feeling so good. My legs were starting to cramp. But we were coming up to Snow Canyon (and another stop for a few quick pictures). I was pushing myself to Snow Canyon at mile 16 because I knew I had visitors. My awesome mom and sister came down from Salt Lake to cheer me on. They had Jackson with them too.

    I was so happy to finally see them, with balloons and signs in hand. I stopped for a minute to say hello and they gave me a bottle of water which I desperately needed. I felt dehydrated. Hollie encouraged me to be a winged liger. Then I set off again.

    Shortly after that I got a choked up, although I didn’t have the physical strength or fluid to cry. I thought about all the support my family has given me over the last year. I thought about how thankful I was that my mom and sister drove down to support me. All the cheering from the crowd touched me. I was happy.

    A few miles later I saw my grandparents who were waiting at Winchester Hills. This gave me another boost. They were so excited. My grandpa who has the funniest sense of humor yelled “You’re In First Place! You’re In First Place!” That made me smile and laugh.

    Around the same time, there was a little girl that was handing out Otter Pops to runners. I wanted to give her a big hug and tell her this was the most welcome gift I’d ever received. Instead I just took one and kept moving.

    At one point in the race a guy ran up by me and said “Hi Cory!” I think I gave him the “Hmmm, am I supposed to know you?” look. He said “You have some amazing music! I have your songs on my iPod.” I felt sorry for him if he was actually trying to run while listening to my music. That stuff can put you to sleep. But I appreciated the boost he gave. I wanted to give him a big hug and tell him this was the most welcome gift I’d ever received. Instead I just kept moving.

    The last ten miles of the race were truly excruciating. I’ve done three 20-milers and never felt close to this bad. My legs remained cramped continually. When I was 19 years old I had a charley horse that woke me up out of my sleep and hurt so bad that it made me throw up. This is what my legs felt like for the last ten miles.

    At the drink stations there were people rubbing Bengay or Icy Hot on runners. I took advantage of this at 4 stops. But when someone touched my calves, it felt like they were rubbing my legs with curling irons. My legs were so cramped up that they were as hard as baseballs. This was my view as a volunteer whipped me around and started working on my legs. I was so thankful for his curling irons. I mean....hands.

    I can’t describe how bad my legs hurt. I tried to stretch them out, but then another part of the leg would shoot with pain. Sometimes I had to walk because I knew I would fall if I tried to run. I thought it was possible that my legs would give out and I would be eating concrete for lunch. For a few miles I was woozy and worried I would pass out.

    Around mile 22 I became emotional again because of the pain I was in. The emotion wasn’t at all about the fact that this was the worst pain I’ve ever been in. The emotion was because of the fact that I was in such pain, but I was still moving forward. I was proud of myself. I knew that even though I had to slow down, there was nothing that would keep me from crossing the finish line.

    By mile 20 I knew I was not going to beat 4 hours. But I truly didn’t care. I knew that I had given absolutely everything I had. I had obviously made tactical mistakes the first half of the race, but it wasn’t worth dwelling on. I knew I had worked hard over the last year and worked hard at the marathon so the finish time became unimportant.

    The last three miles were indescribable. All the runners around me were suffering. I wanted to help them but had nothing to give. The crowds were cheering, but at some points my legs just refused to go fast. My friend Ben met me around the last mile of the marathon. He had finished in 3:01 (Crazy!!!) and was going back up the course to look for his brother. He walked/jogged with me for about a half mile as I got closer to the finish line. He reminded me of the ice cream waiting at the finish.

    Finally I saw the balloons and finish line ahead. My legs slowly plodded ahead and carried me across the line. I had never, ever been so exhausted. I was feeling worse than I thought I would.

    A volunteer put a medal around my neck, and another volunteer was handing out ice cream to the runners. I ate a huge ice cream sandwich. Then I ate another. I felt famished and dehydrated. My watch said that I burned 3005 calories. I felt honored to have that medal around me neck.

    Eventually I met up with my family. They showed me more signs they had made. Mel had another surprise for me. She made a shirt for each of the kids that said MY DAD RAN 26.2.

    Sometimes runners make specific goals for a marathon: an Ecstatic, a Happy, and a Satisfied goal. My Ecstatic goal was under 4 hours. My Happy goal was under 4 and a half hours. My satisfied goal was to finish a marathon. I was thrilled to have even completed a marathon. After all, the first guy who ever ran a marathon….died.

    Now I know what “The Wall” feels like when you run into it. I happened to hit that wall way too early in the race. I’ll know better next time. I heard that you get an adrenaline rush with the crowds cheering you on. That never happened once. I can identify with a runner from Spirit Of The Marathon who said “I’ve never had a ‘runner’s high’. The only ‘runner’s high’ I’ve ever felt was when I stopped running.”

    The awesome thing about my first marathon is that I set a Personal Record. I also have some leeway so that I can cream that record the next time I run a marathon. 26.2 miles is an absolutely obscene distance to run. It was excruciating and painful. It was challenging mentally and physically. It was rewarding and exhilarating. It was a hard-earned triumph.

    I can’t wait to do it again.

    “The pride in finishing a marathon is much greater than all the pain endured during the marathon.” Hal Higdon

    “The miracle isn’t that I finished; it’s that I had the courage to start.” John Bingham

    Sunday, September 27, 2009

    I Saw.....Paul Cardall

    I saw my arms covered with goose bumps. I wondered how obvious they were as I sat across the kitchen table from Paul Cardall Friday evening.

    I saw courage as I heard fascinating stories from the last few months that led up to his heart transplant which took place a few short weeks ago.

    I saw amazing optimism, strength, and sense of humor in light of the fact that his old and worn heart was just replaced with a new one. I'm not ashamed to admit that I got queasy hearing about the surgery. My mind was begging my body: "Please, don't pass out. Please, don't pass out."

    I saw hope as we talked about healing, and family, and our favorite episodes of The Office, and redemption, and determination, and our shared belief that everything happens for a reason.

    I saw a knowledge that God knows each of us, knows what each of us is capable of, wants to help us, and really loves us. I think there is an insight that only comes to people who have truly walked the tightrope of mortality like Paul has.

    I saw his medicine basket piled up with enough bottles to stock a pharmacy. Post-transplant medications seemed like a full course meal big enough to choke a walrus.

    I saw goose bumps covering my arms as I heard Paul’s transplant experience. And it wasn’t because his house was cold.

    Friday, September 25, 2009

    Diagnosis: Road Rage

    Diagnosis: Road rage.

    Cause of Disorder: Driving In Salt Lake City.

    Our family is in Salt Lake for the weekend. I swear to you, I would pull every last one of my graying hairs out if I had to drive in this every day. Among my driving pet peeves:
    • People going 15mph under the speed limit IN THE FAST LANE. (This one really makes me lose my marbles.)

    • Traffic. Oh, have mercy on my soul. The traffic. Are there seriously this many people that have to drive somewhere?

    • Road construction....EVERYWHERE. Yesterday I could have read most of War and Peace while we waited in road construction. We drove past the same guy a few times throughout the day. Every time, he was eating a bag of chips with a can of Coke. Delicious.

    • Drivers are scary. They cut people off, drive bad, and try to intimidate. Case in point:

    Sunday, September 20, 2009

    Walmart Wierdness

    I saw something shocking as I walked into Walmart a few days ago. I wished I had my camera with me. This was something you had to see to believe.

    Near the entrance there was a stand holding plastic bags. But they weren't grocery sacks. They were......(wait for it)........Umbrella Bags. They were elongated, thin plastic bags with a picture of a wet umbrella on them, and clearly marked "Umbrella Bag". Free for the taking....just in case anyone had a wet umbrella.

    I tried to figure out the likelihood that one of these Umbrella Bags would actually be needed at the St. George Walmart. A bag would be useful if:

    1) It actually rained (which happens about 3 times a year in this area), then
    2) You happened to be going to Walmart in alleged rain storm, then
    3) You thought it was raining so hard you actually needed an umbrella, then
    4) You actually owned an umbrella, then
    5) You were female (heaven knows a man ain't taking an umbrella anywhere with him unless ordered to by a female), then
    6) You were disturbed at the thought of having a wet unbrella in public.

    If I'm figuring correctly, the possibility of a Walmart customer needing an Umbrella Bag is approximately 0.0017248 %. Next thing you know, some moron will design an umbrella for pets.

    Friday, September 18, 2009

    The Miracle Of The Marathon

    With only two weeks until my first marathon, I have been thinking a lot about why running a marathon is such an amazing feat. When I first started running, I thought the accomplishment came on marathon day when you actually finished running 26.2 miles.

    I see things differently now though. I think the amazing thing about running a marathon is the dedication, time, effort, and will-power needed to prepare for those 26.2 miles. The amazing thing is the sacrifice needed to prepare the body for running 26.2 miles.

    The personal things that have been amazing to me along my journey are:

    • Those mornings when the alarm goes off at 5:00am to go run. And my body is begging to go back to sleep. But I drag my weary body out of the sheets, put on the running shoes, and go.

    • Being a little (emphasize the world “little”) more conscious about what I eat. At the risk of sounding like a complete lunatic, I have been amazed that I actually don’t crave junk food as much as I used to. For me that isn’t just amazing. That is a miracle.

    • During a run, feeling my body sore and exhausted, but somehow I’ve been able to train my body to force through it and keep going.

    • Being so busy during the day that I have to go running at night after the family has gone to bed. There is a strange satisfaction in running at a time when you know most sane people are asleep. I like the sense of knowing that I’m pushing myself to do something most people wouldn’t do.

    I can’t wait to watch people cross the finish line at the marathon. Knowing that each of them has a story is fascinating. I now have a sense of the endless hours and miles that came before their final 26.2 mile push.

    I am convinced that the accomplishment in running a marathon isn’t race day amid the energy and cheering of the crowds. The accomplishment is all those lonely sacrifices that nobody ever sees.

    St. George Marathon......Here I Come.