Monday, December 29, 2008

1994 Ponderosa Bruins High School Football Team


I've decided to compile information here from my Sr year of Football. Our team was good, we just under-performed in a few games to not make the playoffs. We lost a couple of games we should not have and we finished 4-6. The highlight of the year was our win over our Rival, Eldorado High School, 40-0.

As I do this, people may think I'm obsessed with my "high school days" and maybe I am in some ways, but I can't deny myself that they were fun times and I learned many valuable lessons in this great game of football. I now teach the game to other high school kids and I love learning of it and the many ways it can be used for good. The one thing I'll always remember is how confident it made me feel about myself. My story with my introduction to this game is not unique.

I played as a 10 or 11 year old, but didn't have a clue what I was doing. My dad loved watching football, but I was always more into basketball, but I sucked at that sport too (as I did at pretty much everything I tried). I tried out for the 7th and 8th grade flag teams, but was cut. Then one day in May of 1991, the head coach at Ponderosa called my house and invited me to come out for the freshman team. He said if I showed up every day that I would not be cut. I felt so honored to have THE head coach of the varsity team calling me to ask if I was going to come out to football. As if he had seen some un-seen potential in myself. Little did I know that he was a first-year coach and was calling EVERY incoming male 9th grader to encourage more numbers out. Even so, without me knowing, it made me feel special.

I played sparingly as a freshman, not having a clue what I was doing, but it built my confidence and lead me to a starting position as a Sophomore, most of my Jr year and all of my Sr year. I learned all 5 offensive line positions and I grew to really love the game, my team mates, and my coaches. It was a fun time, despite our team losing games we shouldn't have. I hope there are others I played with that look upon it at least somewhat the way I did.

I was fortunate enough to have been able to save all but one of the newspaper articles from that season.

1994 Game Summaries

Click on any link below to see the photocopied articles from every game this season. This will include pictures from the original newspaper articles. In order to read the article, you will need to click on the picture and it will "zoom" in.

Ponderosa Bruins 14 Oakmont Vikings 7 (@ Ponderosa)

I remember being really excited for this game. As freshman we were destroyed by this team and it continued as we were Sophomores too. Our Jr year we beat them, but this was the year we were to do it with our class in control. As the article says, Drew Shelstad's interception really sealed this game. We actually could have goose-egged them, but their one TD was scored earlier-on because on an identical play to the one Drew intercepted on, Drew stepped up to pick off the pass and slipped and fell, which left the WR wide open and gone for a TD. Other than that our defense played great and our offense did enough to win.

Ponderosa Bruins 13 McClatchy Lions 33 (@ McClatchy)
This one was ugly (as the score indicates). I remember us being able to run all over them, but we fumbled a ton in this game. As an offensive lineman, there is nothing more frustrating than having a RB fumble while you're blocking your guts out. There is also nothing more frustrating when a RB doesn't read your block too. However, I'm sure there is nothing more frustrating for a RB when nobody blocks for you :) (it goes both ways). I remember this team having ridiculous speed with a HUGE fullback and a super-quick tailback (he was an all-city type of player). It was a horrible feeling, but I think it made us focus for the next game...

Ponderosa Bruins 32 Tokay Tigers 13 (@ Tokay)

Tokay was supposed to be this big bad beast. They had a HUGE OL and a QB (Lenzi) who was big too and being recruited by a few colleges to play football. I remember our defense playing lights-out and our offense playing a solid game. I was most excited because in the 4th quarter my best friend Roman got to play running back a lot. I kept telling him to just follow me. He had two carries for 22 yards. Whenever we talk about our playing days, he says "I averaged 11 yards a carry one game" as a joke. We get some good laughs.

Ponderosa Bruins 21 Folsom Bulldogs 13 (@ Folsom)
This was another "statement" game for us. Folsom was pretty good and as a school, we had history with them. As a class, we had never played them, but they were new to our league and we knew they were a tough team. They had a great little league program, so these kids had played football a lot longer than we had.

Ponderosa Bruins 7 Placer Hillman 27 (@ Ponderosa)
Another horrible game. It was our homecoming game, which is the game we are supposed to come out and dominate. This team was another HUGE team (big OL, big RB's with speed, quick/tough QB). We got destroyed by them as freshmen and sophomores AND as Jr's. I hated playing them. I remember knowing their JR class went un-defeated as a JV team the prior year and they featured a 6'2" 235 lbs tailback (not a fullback). Dude was fast, but wasn't much trouble for us for some reason. Still, the most frustrating part of this game was the play of our offense as a whole. I remember our running game was not doing very well and the RB's were having a hard time reading our blocks. I remember the coach tearing into the OL after the game, ranting about how horrible we played, but then come Monday he apologized to all of us and said we actually blocked quite well and he laid into our RB's. I felt bad for them because I feel, as a whole, it's a team game. I think as a team were getting a big head at this time because we were 3-1 and had beaten a couple of teams we, as a class, had had a hard time beating in the past years and we figured Placer would be easy too.

Ponderosa Bruins 40 Eldorado Cougars 0 (@ Ponderosa)
Also a second and third article HERE and HERE What can you say about a major shut-out over your rival team? Eldorado was a long-standing rival to us and I remember we were really jealous as Freshmen because they had a little league feeder program, so most of their kids were well-versed in playing football. We got beat by them as Freshman, but we beat them as Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors. It was a great feeling of just flat-out dominating this team. I remember Zach Hatch going crazy against them, rushing something like 10 times for 110 yards and also catching for around 70 or 80 yards. I also think I set a team record for most positions played in a game. I played all 5 offensive line positions in this game. It was a blast.

Ponderosa Bruins 21 Mesa Verde Mustangs 49 (@ Mesa Verde) Ugly, Ugly, Ugly. I thought for sure we were going to beat these guys. I remember playing them somewhat close as a JV team, and our Jr year we beat them pretty good, but they absolutely stomped us our Sr year. It would pretty much set the tone for the rest of the year. They had a RB that flat-out dominated us and they had a HUGE fullback who's name I remember pretty well: Shawn Thornton. His name is burned into my memory because I remember our teams "shared" a locker room with the only thing separating us was a chain-linked fence. After the game, this Thornton dude (who was 6'2" and 230 lbs of muscle) was mouthing off to us and then he turned around to walk away and dude had "THORNTON" tattooed all across his back in Olde English. I had NEVER seen a HS dude with a tattoo, let alone a HUGE one like that. I knew that dude was hard. Anyway, we were dominated and our coach really gave us a butt-chewing for this one.

Ponderosa Bruins vs. Oak Ridge Trojans (@ Oak Ridge)
This is the only game that I forgot to save the article on. I really wished I had it. I'm going to attempt to contact the Mountain Democrat and see if by chance they have archives, but I doubt it. I can't remember the score to this game, but we did lose by a few TD's. I remember this team having a HUGE line (one of which signed to play college FB at BYU) and too much speed for us to handle (typical). It sucked because Oak Ridge was also another Rival to us (our HS was situation between Eldorado and Oak Ridge, so they were both Rivals). Oak Ridge was pretty "revolutionary" at the time because they were the first of the "spread" type of offenses you see so commonly now days. They usually only had one RB and 3 WR's. We were so used to seeing power-type teams (I-formaiton, wing-t, double wing, etc.) that having to match up against a team with a spread mind-set was difficult. I think our score was something like 13-28

Ponderosa Bruins 23 Valley Vikings 27 (@ Ponderosa) Valley was a team on the rise. They had a lot of athletes on the team (two of which went on to play in the NFL) but as you can see from the score and the article, we took them down to the very end and almost pulled it off. This is the only game from my Sr year that I actually have film of and I love seeing the first play of the game, where I pull and block their all-section DE Jerry De Loach. This dude went on to play at Cal and then in the NFL, starting for the Houston Texans. They also had a Jr Lineback named Jeremiah Pharms, who went on to star as a LB with the Washington Huskies, then get drafted to the NFL, only to never play a down due to murder charges. This dude was pretty good too. They had some great RB's and DB's too, all of which went on to play college FB.

Ponderosa Bruins 6 Del Oro Golden Eagles 33 (@ Ponderosa)
This was our last game of the season. Del Oro was a dominate program, always finishing with only one loss, maybe two sometimes. Their QB was a Sophomore, who went on to play at Stanford, then in the NFL for a few years. He was a great athlete. He wasn't the big player in this game though, it was their RB Anthony Floor, who ran all over us. Del Oro also operated out of a "spread" set, which was so hard for us to defend. Their defense was really good too. If it wasn't for our Kicker being so good, we would have been shut out. Anthony Floor also went on to play college FB at Oregon State I believe. He wasn't the biggest guy, but he was stronger than an ox and so fast.

It sucked losing our final game at home and ending our season so lousily, but it still felt good for me on a personal level. There were so many times I questioned why I put in so much work, figuring in the end that I would not get anything out of it like a college scholarship. However, I learned so much more about commitment, about team work, about working hard and not worrying about the lime light (that's an offensive lineman's perspective), and about respecting authority. Quite a few of the guys on our team did not like our head coach. I learned to really love and respect him. I can only hope as a coach that I represent my mentors the way I was taught.

Here is the list for the All Sierra Foothill League team. These were the kids from the 3 high schools in our county only, so it did not show all the other kids from the other high schools out of our county.

All Sierra Foothill League

Here is an article by our school newspaper that talks about how our season is going. Notice the underlined section that mentions my brother Russ as a RB on the JV team and a game he had against Placer. Russ is by far the best athlete in our family, but he didn't care much for football. He was a dang good RB and LB though.

Paw Print

Here is the team picture of our Jr year as Varsity players: Junior Year

Here is the team picture from our JV year: JV Year

Here is the team picture from our Freshman year: Freshman Year

Here is my Sr, Jr, Sophomore, and Freshman pictures (respectively):



Soph (JV)


Here are a couple of "action" shots from my JV and Varsity years. I was a lineman, so the "action" shots aren't that cool.



Lastly, here is a picture of my two best friends and I from our Sr year

Roman, Tyler, & Brian

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Playing with Ice

Playing with Icicles

Playing with Icicles

I have some giant icicles hanging from my gutters that look like this:

Ice Ice Baby 1

I decided to break them off and have some fun with them in the front yard snow pile:

Playing with Icicles

Playing with Icicles

Playing with Icicles

Friday, December 26, 2008

"Friday's Arms and Back....."

I love that scene from Anchorman when Will Ferrel acts like he's just finishing his 1000th curl as his love interest enters the room. He goes on to explain how many curls he was doing, then his routine, "Friday's Arms and Back...."

With all the snow shoveling I've been doing, I definitely feel like Friday, today, was Arms and Back. I'm SORE. Alene and I spent a good amount of time this morning piling snow up and clearing ways to make it easier to get to the cars. It's crazy. I have not seen this much snow since I've lived here, but it does rival Christmas 2003 when I had so much snow I was able to build a tiny hill and a jump in my back yard:

Backyard jump 2003

Russ Backyard jump 2003

The thing is, I had the energy for that then. Now I'm pooped after shoveling for 10 minutes. Most of it is the fact that I'm out of shape, but maybe I am getting older??? Alene mentioned to Caiden and his friend Alma that she saw an awesome snow fort in a yard down the street. I was nervous they were going to ask me to build them one. Not that I don't like the idea, but I was pooped about that time. Luckily I talked them into playing with their new Christmas toys downstairs.

Here are some pictures of our yard this morning. Since this time we've had another 3"-4" fall.

Front Yard 12.26.08

Front Yard 12.26.08

Front Yard 12.26.08

Front Yard 12.26.08

If you look closely, you can see me in the background using a snow blower. My neighbor offered to let me use it to get the really icy stuff at my driveway entrance
Front Yard 12.26.08

Front Yard 12.26.08

Note: Yes, I do know this is the norm for people up in Minnesota, Canada, and Alaska, but it's my own little Hell, so I'm going to rant about it.

Bailey likes Squirt

We're starting her off on the hard stuff right away.

Bailey likes squirt

Thursday, December 25, 2008

It's really coming down right now

It's snowing pretty hard. This is the hardest snow I've seen since Christmas 2003. That was some crazy shiz. We went to Alene's parents for Christmas today and the drive home absolutely sucked. Super strong wind-gusts. Couldn't see the lines on the freeway for the lanes. Cars driving all over the place. It wouldn't be so bad if it were just me driving on the road, but you have all these other idiots that you have to watch out for.

The one thing I'm very thankful for is the truck. I have a 1/2 ton Chevy pickup that just grips the ground like no other. Driving on the freeway was really a cinch, but like I said it was the other drivers I had to worry about. Not once did I feel like the truck was out of control or about to lose control.

Here's a picture of the drive down (this is I-15 south-bound around Layton):

Driving home on Christmas

It ended up taking us close to two hours to drive from Roy to our home in taylorsville (usually takes about 45 minutes).


We had a good time today. We did not have Caiden until 1pm, so we waited for him to get here to open the presents. As we all guessed, Bailey enjoyed the wrapping paper far more than the presents. Alene enjoyed Bailey's presents more than Bailey did. Caiden proclaimed it the "best day ever".

Here are some pictures:

Christmas 2008

Christmas 2008

Christmas 2008

Christmas 2008

Christmas 2008

Christmas 2008

Christmas 2008

Bailey Christmas 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

My Girls


I cannot say enough how thankful I am for my "girls". Alene is a very wonderful mother. She is so amazing. She is more than I ever expected in a mother for my children. She wants so badly for their happiness.

One thing I love about her is that she makes it a point to give Bailey attention. Bailey loves her mother so much.

Bailey is everything to me. She is so sweet and fun. I love her to death. It's still surreal to think she is mine. She seems too perfect.

I love my girls so much. They're both so beautiful.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

This is how I roll

Russ and I went to the shooting range last week.

At the shooting range

Friday, December 19, 2008

Caiden's Volcano

Caiden made a volcano at school the other day and brought it home to show us how it works.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

American Ninja

My brother Russ and I Had some good laughs on Monday, recalling our fixation and fascination of ninja movies and being a ninja, in the 80's. One movie we would rent almost every weekend for a long time was the American Ninja series, which lasted about 4 series I believe. Here is the plot:

Joe Armstrong, an orphaned drifter will little respect for much other than martial arts, finds himself on an American Army base in The Philippines after a judge gives him a choice of enlistment or prison. On one of his first missions driving a convoy, his platoon is attacked by a group of rebel ninjas who try to steal the weapons the platoon is transporting and kidnap Patricia, the base colonel's daughter, who happens to be along for the ride. Joe rescues Patricia and gets her safely back to the base, but everyone else in the platoon is killed, leading his superiors to conclude that Joe is guilty of cowardice, collaboration or simple incompetence. At the same time, the rebel leader vows revenge against the serviceman who disrupted his plans, and sends an army of ninjas to assassinate him and bring back Patricia. If he wants to survive and save the girl, Joe's going to have to draw on every last ounce of his training.

Can anyone else tell me if there was a better plot for an 80's ninja movie??? Was there ever a better name for a lead star playing an American Ninja than "Michael DUDEikoff"??

Saturday, December 13, 2008

80's skateboarding

My brother Jeff sent me this link that showed a "competition" of sorts among skaters who were big in the 80's, but are all now in their late 30's and early 40's. Most of them are still involved in skateboarding one way or another still, but it was funny to see them ride this ramp and do tricks from that era. Tricks nowdays are so much more evolved, but Tony Hawk did comment that back then the boards were so much bigger and heavier that it makes the tricks actually tougher to do.

Watching this brought back some memories for me. From about age 9-13 I was really into skateboarding. I wasn't very good at it at all, but it was my identity for a while. I bought all the videos, magazines, and tried my best to get good at skating. I couldn't drop in on a ramp, I could barely ollie. I could kind of grind my trucks on something, but for the most part I was a poser and just rode my skateboard around trying to look cool or something. Seeing this video made me ponder on my skateoboards I had over these few years and I started to search for them on the internet. Here is a run down on my history of skateboards:

My first skateboard was actually a "Kamakazi" skateboard, which was a generic brand that Costco sold. I thought it was the bomb. After wearing that one out, my parents bought both my brother and I matching "Nash" skateboards. We were happy to have anything, but we wore through those so quickly. When we were both able to save up enough money each (about $50), we went and bought Tony Hawk skateboards. We didn't get matching colors though, because that would have been gay (but my Hot Pink deck was NOT gay)
Ty and Russ 1988

The thing that kind of sucked the most about having the money to buy a nice deck was not having enough money to buy nice trucks, bearings, or wheels, so we used our old trucks and wheels off our Nash decks. They were heavy and they were hard and not forgiving against cracks and rocks.

Eventually I earned up enough money to buy some Independant trucks and some Bullet wheels.

On a side note, one of my best friends from that time is the person that got me into skating. His name was Raleigh and he is now an airline Pilot for Skywest (I think?) here in Utah (useless info I guess). I was impressed because when I met him, the dude owned TWO skateboards, but only one set of trucks and wheels, so he'd switch them from deck to deck now and again. He was a "Vision" guy and only rode these two Vision skateboards:

Mark Gonzales (on the left) and the Psycho Stick (on the right; most decks back then were associated/designed by the rider. I'm not sure who the rider of this deck was)
Vision Mark GonzalesVision Psycho Stick

My friend Raleigh moved away when I was 11. Raleigh was a good skater and a really good artist. He had plans of going pro and would even draw his ideas for skateboard decks. I thought they were so cool. I don't remember the name of them now though, but one had some clocks on it with some dollar bills too.

My next few decks were a bit blurry. I remember buying this Steve Caballero deck:

Steve Caballero

Then agreeing to trade it for this crappy Mike McGill deck. Stupidest thing I had ever done. It was in crappy shape and even had stress marks. I remember trading it with this dude that was older and really popular among the skaters I rode with. I think I just wanted him to think I was cool or something.
Tommy Gurrero

After that, I bought this Lance Mountain deck. This was one of the best decks I had ever owned. It had a HUGE tail that made it easy to ollie.

Lance Mountain

I traded the Lance Mountain deck with my friend Jeremy for a month or so. I rode his Natus Kaupus deck, which I could actually ollie the highest on (about 12", which was HUGE for me).

Natas Kaupas

My Lance Mountain deck was stolen and I knew who it was because I saw the dude riding it. I was the only person in friggin' Eldorado County that had this deck (at least I thought I was) and this dude was riding it. He was the son of a group of Hells Angels (and probably in prison now for murder), so I didn't dare mess with him.

I then made my best deck purchase my last. Chriss FREAKING Miller. I had no idea who this dude was, but I saw the deck and it spoke to me. It was made by Schmidt Stixx I think? (by the way, all the decks I have spoken about were made by Powell Peralta, except the Natas Kaupus, which was made by Santa Monica Airlines; I had considered myself a "Powell Peralta" guy up until that point). This deck was perfect for me. I felt so much more free on it, I could ollie well, grind well, even could go higher on ramps than I normally could. Next to the Lance Mountain deck, this was the best deck by far.

Chris Miller

I eventually saw the writing on the wall and all my friends started to ditch skateboards for BMX bikes. I followed suit and I think I ended up trading my board for some bike rims or something.

Those were great times though. I remember being so frustrated because we lived in the "country" so there wasn't a lot of hard surfaces to ride on and if they were blacktop or cement, they were usually covered with rocks and gravel. I remember how stoked we were when my parents paved a part of their driveway in front of the house. We had so much skating surface, it was unbelievable. Every once in a while a friend of a friend of a friend built a half pipe, but I was too chicken to ever try dropping in, so I'd just ride up and down from the middle. It was lame, but that was the best I could do. Russ was a stud though. Dude wasn't afraid to try anything and he was always good. I think he might be part of the reason I ditched skating; I couldn't compete. The funnest times was having one of our parents drop us off "downtown" placerville so we could go find a parking lot to ride on, or just ride down the sidewalk along main street.

I now leave you with a nice picture of me in my skater era mullet, cool skate shirt with a bird riding a skateboard. Enjoy:

Tyler 7th Grade Mullet

Friday, December 12, 2008


Alene and Bailey are out of town at a funeral. Caiden is with his mom. I'm bored.

I got a ton done today, most notably something I thought was pretty much impossible without a torch. I moved our old gas fire stove from the basement to the garage, into the back of the truck. My guess is the thing weighs a good 600-800 lbs (I'm not kidding). Russ came over to help. We accomplished it by me building a "sled" of sorts for it to fit into and slide on. We attached a couple of tow ropes to both my truck and around the stove. We then proceeded to move the truck 12" at a time as we dragged the sled up the stairs, allowing time to get the front lip of the sled up over the next step. It was tedious, but we finally got it up to the garage.

Then we had to figure out how to get it into the back of the truck. We thought about borrowing my brother's friends engine hoist, but we would have had to buy additional chain and it would have taken a long time. I thought I'd hit up my neighbor, who owns a 4 wheeler, to see if he had any ramps. We lucked out. He brought over his two ramps and we slid the thing up into the back of the truck. Mission FRIGGIN' accomplished. I've been wanting to get that thing out of my basement for SO LONG.

Now I have to deliver it to Castle Dale, where the buyer has offered to pay me an extra $100 to deliver it. However, I'm getting a little nervous as I've called him for two days and he has not returned my calls. I'd be pissed if he backed out (after completely committing to buy it) and ignored me. Then I'd have a giant metal stove in the back of my truck.

BUT, I did just (finally) finish fixing the water pump issue on the Chevy. I ended up needing to get a new water pump, which was fairly cheap ($50). The issue though was that I could not get the fan clutch off the old water pump. It was on there VERY tight and it was an awkward thing to even grip in order to give it enough force to remove it. I finally went into Auto Zone and asked the dude behind the counter if he had any advice. He toyed with it for a bit, thinking it would be easy, then he started to get pissed (just like I had the past 3 nights, throwing tools and yelling at Alene and Caiden). After 20+ minutes, he finally get it to break free. I could not thank him enough at how gracious he was. I'm going to call the store and just let his manager know how much I appreciated him and I will always go to Auto Zone for my car needs.

I have a few small regrets, but I'm not sure I could have done anything about it. The wall got scuffed up a bit on the stairway up. Nothing that a small amount of drywall mud patch and some paint will fix. I also damaged the door frame going into the garage as the tow rope rubbed against it on the way out. No big deal really, I can fix that too. In fact, nobody will likely notice it.

Here are some pictures of us moving the stove:

This is the base I made for it. It was really heavy, with 2x10 boards along the bottom, 2x4 frames, and some melamine (slippery) boards along the bottom to help it slide.
Basement stove move

Basement stove move

Pulling it up the stairs with a tow rope
Basement stove move

More of the rope going to the truck. I used some climbers webbing doubled up at the very end. That stuff is STRONG.
Basement stove move

In the back of the truck. I covered it with a tarp and used some straps to tie it down.
Basement stove move

I've completely gotten off topic. Boredom. Most men would probably relish this time, and there is a bit of me that has, but in the end, my life feels empty when I don't have my wife or children near me. It has made me dwell on my belief that families are eternal and I want to be with my family beyond this life. I cannot imagine a life without some sort of hope that we can be together beyond this life. Why even try to stay together if you cannot imagine the possibility? I mean, I understand the "seize the day" attitude, but can't you have both?

I've been really mean to Alene lately. Just short with her, mostly stupidity on my part because of my frustration over a simple fix that I could not "simply" fix. It was eating at me every day and I could not sit until it was fixed. I really miss her and bailey and caiden.

I'm killing my time by watching movies and Season 1/2 of the office on netflix via my xbox 360. It's kind of nice to watch something without interruption, but I'll trade the interruption of my crying daughter, or my son talking about pokemon, or my wife needing me to listen to her ANY DAY now. A day alone is long enough. Come back Alene (I know, I'll see you Sunday).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Better than Billy Idol

If you've seen the Haka before, this is it times 10.

Monday, December 08, 2008

My wife's husband

I sometimes think that my wife's should-be husband was born about 40 or so years too young. He's the guy she referred to in this post and I've had the honor of meeting the guy a couple of times. Once at our wedding reception when he told me very bluntly that I better take care of Alene. The second was on a trip to Portland Alene and I took.

When I first met Alene, she told me about her belief in God and how this man and his wife helped Alene understand what it meant to be a true Christian and one that is loving, forgiving, and tolerant toward others. She said previous to that she had never understood it until living with them.

When she spoke of H, her eyes would always light up and she would smile about how great of a husband, father, and grandfather he was. She was so impressed with the life he lived in both the military and as a teacher in Alaska. She said he worked so hard to support his family and was everything to his grandchildren (who helped raise). He was devoted to his family and his church and in retirement, volunteered at his grand children's school.

The way she talks about him is the way I would want her to think about me. I think any man would want his wife to feel the same way about him in the way Alene talks about this man.

When I hear her talk about him, I reflect on myself. I think of the people that I want to emulate and be like and I'll always say it's my own father. I want nothing more than to let him know he is and was a great influence on my life. With that said, I feel like I'm half the man he and H are and I've got a lot to catch up on. I'm 31 years old, I still have not finished school, and I don't spend enough quality time with both my wife and my family. I kind of suck, but I know I can do better.

I didn't want to ruin this post on a down note. H was great to spend time with and he reminded me VERY much of my own father, who is loving, tolerant (VERY tolerant from the crap I did as a teenager), and forgiving. He also worked VERY hard for his family (and continues to). These are both great men that I would use as an example to anyone I met as to how to be a man. I love my wife very much and I want to be a better husband and father so she could so proudly think of me the same way she thinks of H.

Caiden playing army with his Hamster

Caiden can be kind of hard to understand. Often times when we make him stop playing video games, he'll say in a sheepish voice, "Then what can I do?" Being that we want him to be creative and think of things to do, we tell him to "be creative and think of something to do". He gets frustrated and often times says he can't think of one thing to do.

Same with school when his teacher would have him free-write about anything. He would have a blank piece of paper after 20 minutes stating that he could not think of anything to write.

Then, there are times where he's consumed for hours with something. I'll go into this room and find 1000 tiny green army guys all lined up in formation facing 1000 chess pieces, or maybe empty bullet shells stacked up on end as if they're some sort of action figure. He'll play with them for hours, then want to spend 30 minutes describing the battle that just took place. It's cute, but very time consuming and often tries my patience, but I know he needs someone to listen.

Well, last night after Alene cleaned Henry's (Caiden's hamster) cage, Caiden had been watching him and wanted to continue to watch him. He had a "battle" that involved henry. He kept Henry at bay with food and water under one of his army helmets. At first his tiny army guys were attacking Henry, but then they became under attack from a larger force, so they turned around and started fighting back with Henry. Pretty intense.

Here are a couple of pictures (this particular battle was actually very small-scale):

Caiden playing war with Henry (henry is under the helmet)

Henry playing war with Caiden

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Changing a water pump

I have a '97 Chevy CK 1500 truck that developed a water leak of sorts in August. I have not driven it since because I had the Dodge and I was pretty busy the past few months fixing the basement. Russ came over and helped me out. I used to really know how to work on cars and all their components, but I've since become a dunce. Russ has all the "Car" tools while I have all the "construction" tools, so it's a good partnership we've formed.

We pulled the water pump off and inspected it for cracks. Nothing, but we noticed the gaskets were pretty much gone, so it was safe to assume we just needed new gaskets. We've got them now and I just need to put the sucker back on. I'll probably do that tomorrow.

One of the most annoying thing about the water pump is the fact that the fan is connected to and IMPOSSIBLE to remove before taking off the water pump, so you have to take the whole thing out.

Here is a picture of where the water pump/fan should be:

Changing water pump in truck

Here is a picture of the water pump with the fan attached

Changing water pump in truck

Temple Square

12.6.08 Temple Square

We did the annual Temple Square night to check out the Christmas lights along with my brother Russ and his wife Randa. We were especially curious how Bailey would respond. She seemed to be very curious and observant, constantly distracted by all the lights, but she was VERY good.

I like going down to Temple square to see the lights. As much as I know what to expect, it's still a fun feeling getting bundled up to go out with the family. We purchased a cute fleece outfit for Bailey to wear, which covers here completely from head to toe. When we got to the car she was still toasty, except for her cheeks.

Here are some pictures from the night (as usual, you can click on the picture, then click "all sizes" to find a size that shows more detail):

Bailey and mommy all bundled up:

12.6.08 Temple Square

We got there just as the lights were coming on

12.6.08 Temple Square

So Joseph, Mary, AND Baby Jesus could all walk on water????

12.6.08 Temple Square

Another shot with their reflections

12.6.08 Temple Square


12.6.08 Temple Square


12.6.08 Temple Square

The Temple

12.6.08 Temple Square