It's been awhile since I've done a good blog entry. I'll blame it on a few things- not usually in the mood to sit down and write down some thoughts and then also just lack of time. Our life these days revolves around Jimmer naturally. I'm trying to do my best to play with him for the 3-4 hours between getting home from work and putting him to bed. He's changed a lot in a month's time. He's a big crawler these days and so busy making his rounds around the house from the shoe rack to the ottoman with his toys to the vent in the kitchen and the books under his crib. He's so full of energy and doesn't like to focus on one thing, it's kind of funny to watch. I'm not sure how I was when I was a baby but sometimes I feel like my life is like Jimmer's- not able to focus on one thing and lots of things occupying my mind.
Some of the things occupying my mind these days:
-Trip to Europe. Me and Emmy are stoked about going. I haven't been back to Holland since 2007 so it's about time I get back there, show off my pretty wife, and check up on the people I love there. In the two times I've been back I've gone to all the cities I served- we're doing that this time but the next time we go to Europe we'll just do one or two cities in Holland so we can spend more time in another part of Europe. The region we're visiting in this trip to Europe is Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Western Germany and Northern France. We're going to rent a car and stay along the Rhine and see lots of castles and pretty cities in Germany. We're doing the whole backpack thing and stay in a few hostels along with some hotels. It's kind of how I like to do it- the 2006 Europe trip was just so awesoem and it's a style I like to do. Turns out that Groupon and Living Social are really big there like they are here. We've been buying some good deals that will help us eat nice for not too much. So yeah, we'll see a lot, eat a lot of cool foods, get some cool souvenirs, some cool pictures, and just enjoy ourselves in Europe. It'll definitely be tough to be away from Jimmer for 2 weeks but he'll have fun with my parents. There's lots of new toys for him and Skybekah's kids he can play with.
-The Republican primaries. It's pretty fun to watch. I still think there's no way it won't be Romney. I actually don't mind the bickering in the debates or just from the campaigns...it's politics, that's what happens. As long as the Mormon card doesn't get played I'm fine with either campaign doing what they're doing. The schedule favors Romney- he'll win Florida and then Nevada and Maine favor him, he won Colorado and Minnesota in 2008 so he'll do well there and then Arizona and Michigan are two states he'll easily win. All this momentum early on will pretty much just make him the inevitable candidate. It's interesting how many top Republicans just do not like Newt, that's another thing that's been working to Romney's advantage.
-House Projects. I think we will rent out our house when the time comes to move out of Utah or move to a different house. It'll be a good addition to our retirement portfolio, shouldn't be hard too stressful since there are some good property management companies here, and it's kind of fun getting the house ready to be able to rent. We finished the fence in October so we have a new white vinyl fence in the back and on each side of the house. We still need to either close off the fence or extend it into the front yard- that'll be a small project this summer. We're also looking forward to landscaping the yard with low-maintenance plants, painting the shed, leveling the garden area, putting crown molding in our bedroom, doing some small projects in the house, and putting in a sprinkler system. I really want a sprinkler system in place so the grass doesn't go downhill. Anyway, it's fun working on the house/yard and it'll probably take 2-3 summers of doing all this, but it's fun doing the prep for the projects.
-School. So I'm starting to come around to realize more education is a good thing that I'm anxious to do. For one, I think more business education will help with my career and two, I want to make myself more valuable.
-Church calling. I work with the priests in our ward. It's a calling that I really enjoy but just wish I was better at. We have good young men in our ward- they need some encouraging and some of them don't have strong families. Sometimes I want to shake them, take away their agency, and force them to get their Eagle and Duty to God. It's something I think a lot about--how can I help them more. It's not a new feeling, it's something that I constantly dealt with on my mission. It's just tough to help people progress when they don't have that desire. How can you help others have more desire? Like today in Sacrament meeting--we were a tad late and sat in the very back--I couldn't believe how many people around us were on their cell phone. In just a small sampling there were 12 people looking down at the phone...it really frustrates me and just makes me feel sad for them.
-Family History. When my died last year I went down to the funeral in Mesa, AZ and then we went to Virden, New Mexico for his burial. Virden probably has the population of 50 people? I would be shocked if there were more than that. It's way out in the middle of no where, it felt like we were in a desolate part of Mordor to be honest. But the whole experience really had a strong effect on me. First of all our family is very representative of the urbanization of America. Grandpa grew up on a farm in a small house with a large family. Sounds like a pretty typical story you'd hear from a grandparent, right? When I hear(d) stories from my two grandpas or about them you can't help but be impressed at how down to earth they are and just how good they are. They are very good men who lived in very poor circumstances, but they aren't complaining. They lived in smalltown, USA without tv, internet, electricity. They didn't need to live close to a mall or close to a place with a lot of entertainment. They had little but appreciate and are grateful for the things they did have. They worked hard growing up which made them the men they are and were. I'm frustrated right now because I can't quite put into words what I think/feel about the situation but I think it's sad that those days are over. It's not the same time, it's not the same country where people grow up like that and I think it's sad that we're missing or aren't going to have the experiences they had. I think it's sad that my generation has everything and therefore feels entitled to more because that's what we're accostomed to. It's sad that smalltown, USA is pretty much non-existent now because those experiences produced great people as evidenced through my grandparents. Virden used to have more people, it used to have a pretty vibrant ward and high school. Grandpa's brother told the story of how they would go to church dances and perform a skit that would get girls. I thought that was funny. They had hard experiences, I can't imagine what it would be like to have the chores they did or to live in those small homes with so many family families. I'm grateful they went through those things and turned out the way they did which in turn has influenced me. I guess I just want my kids to somehow learn those same things and turn out to be good Church members, good citizens, just good respectable and decent people.
-Exercise. So we bought a treadmill in November. It's pretty sweet. I think it's probably one of the best investments I've made. We only have one body, right, so might as well make it healthy and fit. I'm trying to lose 12 pounds this year which is crazy for me because I don't think I actually need to lose weight, but it's just more of a by-product of the real goal to be healthy and exercise a lot this year.