Trevor Has Pipes

You may have guessed it from the previous video, but you'd still be wrong.


Not a Nightmare... Yet

"Tanner," as my mom has dubbed it--our newly acquired 2003 Chevy Venture.


We just bought a minivan on Saturday. This is the most money we've spent on anything. Ever. We drove off the lot on Saturday after clearing up what would be repaired when we came back for inspection and registration the next week.

I made an appointment for this morning at 8:30, and was on time. I sat in a chair and tried to make myself busy with school work, but couldn't help glancing out the window every now and then. My van was just sitting there.

The mechanic finally took it in just before ten o'clock, and I thought that I'd be all set. The repairs were minor, and the dealership had three business days to make whatever orders were necessary prior to repairing my vehicle. We had been promised a steam cleaning as well, but that shouldn't take very long, right?

At 2:30 I walked back into the dealership after having inspected the "repaired" vehicle. I walked back in because three of the problems that I had identified prior to purchase had not been fixed. The salesman that worked with us on Saturday put on a shocked face and rushed back inside promising that he'd get it "taken care of."


2:49 PM -- Well, it's not done yet, but Brendan, my salesmonkey, has just rushed into the waiting room and assured me that the general manager was down in the garage "yelling at them," and that the situation would be soon resolved.

I hope that "they" are the people that are going to fix the minivan and not just some random people that the manager got together so that my salesmonkey could tell me that he was yelling at someone.


Trevor Sings

It's so exciting to have Trevor in Primary now. He does so well during Singing Time, and seems to be catching on to the songs. This month we are practicing "I Am a Child of God," and he has almost learned the first verse.

Here he is, singing so "gwamma and gwampa" can see it on the internet.


PBJ du Jour #3 - Peanut Butter and Mayonnaise

I had to try it.

I had to try it because I was getting sick of, "Oh, you like peanut butter and banana sandwiches? Well, you must like peanut butter and mayonnaise then, right? Right?"

Now I have the Answer: Not so much.

So I tried it. I didn't want the peanut butter to have to go it alone, so I sent some banana along as well. I put the mayonnaise on one half of the slice of pumpernickel, and the peanut butter and banana on the other half. I closed my eyes and took a bite.

I find that I'd rather have just plain peanut butter and banana. The mayonnaise didn't do much for the sandwich, and what little it contributed was not good. It lent a slightly sour, slightly eggy taste to the sandwich--not enough to make me toss it out, but enough to convince me that this was the only time I'd eat a peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwich.

Tamara fared a little better. She went with the more standard setup, with the slight alteration of a maraschino cherry. (I removed the stem). Unfortunately, the pitted cherry still had a pit in it.


Keep It Green

It may be freezing outside and the ground covered with a blanket of white, but in here I'm thinking green. I can't help but look at the rampant and unchecked consumption all around me and not wonder what consequences it holds in store for the world, my community, and my family.

I ran across an interesting little video this morning, and I'd like to give it some space here on my blog. If you end up showing interest in it, that space may become permanent. (Hey, I can at least give it a link, right?)

Before you start watching the movie (QUICK--press pause!) let me voice my opinion that, as with any opinion piece, and don't let the narrator sway you--this is just her opinion along with some observations that she's made, you need to take all of what is said with a grain of salt.

Preferably sea salt.

I moved the video because I was tired of hearing it every time I loaded my blog.

See the video (in a larger format) on


A little chilly still...

Yep. With wind chill at about 5° F this morning, you can say that it's definitely cold outside. We've got a cold inside, too. Poor Abigail is in about day three of runny nose and coughing. She's not sleeping well, and that affects Mommy and Daddy a little bit, too.

One nice weather feature today--sunshine! Even though temperatures will only reach freezing today, the sun is out and warming the apartment with it's rays. Even on the west side of the apartment, the sunshine dazzles on the snow and bounces into the living room. It's not quite "deep heaven," but the kids are enjoying it's radiance.

Abigail waiting at the window as the sun crests the ridge of the roof.

Abigail and Trevor's silhouetted against the dazzling January sunlight


I'm it!

I’ve been tagged by my friend Angie of Seven Clown Circus so now I get to dream and come up with 5 places I would like to visit.

There are so many wonderful places in the world I would love to see, but since there are so many places in the United States I haven’t seen yet, my list will stick to the good old USA.

The first two places on my list are places I have fond memories of and would like to share those memories with my children.

  1. DISNEYLAND—Growing up in California and having family in Southern California gave me many opportunities to make lots of memories in the magical kingdom. It makes
    me feel a little sad that my children have never been (they don’t even know what Disneyland is) and I look forward to sharing this with them.
  2. MAMMOTH LAKES, CALIFORNIA--This is a favorite vacation spot that my family discovered when I was little. It is a very popular ski resort but we always went during the summer to take advantage of the fishing, hiking, and clean mountain air.
    Those were the good old day!
  3. GRAND CANYON—I love the wonders of nature and the photos I’ve seen of the Grand Canyon leave me amazed. I would love to see this in person!
  4. HAWAII—I’ve never been but the sand and clean water looks so inviting, and I would love to visit Pearl Harbor!
  5. PALMYRA, NEW YORK—This is practically in my own backyard but still a bit of a drive. It would be nice to visit while we are living so close. Will it happen this
    Only time will tell!
After days of thinking I've finally come up with my list. Now it is my job to tag 5 other people so they can have a chance to dream. Watch out! It may be you!


A little chilly...

Not too bad--really it's the wind chill that gets ya.

We've just got about a foot of snow in the last 12 hours. School has been canceled, and the kids are clamoring about going sledding.

So, just how cold is it? The mercury is at 27° F right now, but that's only half the story. The wind, while not as strong as it is sometimes in these parts, is still rather brisk at 16 mph. The combination of these two factors is a wind chill factor of approximately 15° F. According to the chart below, proudly provided by the National Weather Service, at that wind chill, exposed skin can become frostbitten within half an hour.

The temperature is falling--it looks like we'll go now.

Be careful this winter, friends!

Games I'd let my kids play #2 - Base Jumping

I got tired of the music coming from the game...

Click on the picture to go to the game.


Did you know.....

that you can actually call 911 from a cell phone with no service plan and have the call go through?

Anthony experienced this first hand the other day while playing with our old cell phone/camera that he now has possession of.

The funny part is that he was mad at something his sister did so he told her he was going to call the police and have them take her away.  Natalie came downstairs all upset as she told me that Anthony was going to call the police. I assured Natalie that Anthony’s phone didn’t work so he wouldn’t be able to call the police for real.

A few minutes later Anthony came downstairs with a funny look on his face.  He told me how he had dialed 9-1-1 and then he heard a voice asking him what his emergency was.  I think he was surprised and scared as he told me how he had quickly turned his phone off.

My advice to Anthony was that it’s best not to mess around with 9-1-1.  He agreed and it looked like he was relieved that he was not in trouble.   It made me laugh but I do have to say that I’m proud of Anthony for telling me what happened even when he thought he was going to get in trouble!

Jeremiah's Top Five Travel Destinations

Tag. We're it. Again.

Angie Lee, of Seven Clown Circus fame, has tagged us with the assignment (that makes it sound fun, doesn't it?) of creating a post of the top five places we'd like to visit or revisit. I'll leave Tamara to post her own answer when she gets around to it. I admit that it was difficult for me to narrow the field. Greece, Russia, Britain, Italy and Roswell, New Mexico might be in the top ten, but they were edged out of this post by my top five choices. Remember, the following are my choices, so we'll probably never go, or return to any of these places unless they make Tamara's list as well.

Oh, and I'll let you guess which are the visits and which are the re-visits.

5. Easter Island

Giant stone heads, great surfing, and fresh seafood—this is one destination you wouldn't find among Tamara's top five.

So why do I like to hang out with the creee-peeee Moai? One word, baby: UFO.

Okay, so maybe that was an acronym…

4. China

The Great Wall sure made a great backdrop for our family portrait this year. Not only did all the children look and smile at the same time, but there was a complete planetary alignment, the Loch Ness monster just happened to be checking out some landlocked China lakes in the distance, Jackie Onassis popped her head over the parapet to the left, and the photographer snapped the shot before Bigfoot (or possibly a yeti—it was China after all) had ducked behind some bushes.

What's better than seeing the Olympics in Beijing? Maybe seeing the Forbidden City. Maybe taking a tour of the Three Gorges Dam. (Yeah, sorry all you 1.5 million of displaced residents. Hope you had flood insurance.) Maybe seeing giant pandas chowing down on bamboo shoots. My bet, however, is on the food.

Kung Pao chicken! Mongolian chicken! Sweet and sour chicken! Do the Mu-shu!

3. Mount Kilimanjaro

The wild dogs cry out in the night
As they grow restless longing for some solitary company
I know that I must do what's right
Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti

Mount Kilimanjaro rising from the early morning mists. Now that's an image I won't soon forget. What a great place for a very memorable family bike trip.

2. Washington D.C.

It's all about money and power. The District of Columbia is the seat of government of the mightiest nation on Earth! See the grandeur of the Capitol building. Marvel at the loftiness of the Washington Monument. Buy sheets of money, at cost, of course, at the Bureau of Engraving & Printing. Grease the palms of your representative a little more than the special interest groups have and you can make some real change. Where else can you find such a cesspool of vice and corruption? Ah, yes—Vegas! (Yes, Las Vegas, curiously enough, did not make the list.)

What happens in D.C. stays in D.C.

Unless you're later indicted.

1. Paris

Ooh-la-la! Italy might have better architecture, art, and food, but Paris brings home the gold in the romance category. What could be more romantic than strolling through the Jardin de Tuileries arm-in-arm with your lover, listening to someone play La Vie en Rose on the accordion? Okay, you're right—floating down the Seine on a barge, dining by candlelight, and listening to someone play La Vie en Rose on the accordion. (Seriously, is this guy following me?)

They might only be runners up, but the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and not-too-distant Versailles take the sting off of not being in Italy.


Traces of the Holidays - #3

Today is the eighth of January, two weeks after Christmas is celebrated by many Christians and the day after the observance of Christmas for Orthodox Christians.

But Christmas is still alive!

Yes, I am one of those who can't get enough of Christmas from Halloween to New Year's Day each year, so I rejoiced as I walked across campus today and heard the bells from a nearby cathedral playing Good Christian Men, Rejoice. I was thrilled again when, walking back the same way, I was able to hum along to Hark! The Herald Angels Sing as the chimed melody floated down to me on the (oddly enough) balmy January breeze.

I hate to be the one to put a number on it, but...

...only 351 days left! Yipee!

Traces of the Holidays - #2


Life-changing link #4: Facebook

That weird guy in your Orgo class just joined a group called "I [heart] squirrels."

Some girl you don't really know that well says she's married to some other girl.
(Not these girls, though.)

Everyone's writing on everyone else's wall. It's almost like the dorm refrigerator with a bunch of stickie notes, but you can read everyone else's post, and--let's face it--they're not all very tasteful.

That's what it's often like for me logging on to facebook.com.

But, what's this? Among all the nonsense that people are posting about themselves and their activities, you notice that your kid sister has set her status to "blue." There's nothing for it but to send her some virtual flowers and wish her a speedy recovery to better spirits.

It's not all bad then, I guess. Except...
Why are these people always poking me?

I first opened up a facebook.com account early in the Fall 2006 semester when one of my students was shocked to find out that I was "not on facebook.com yet."

"Everyone's on facebook.com, Jeremiah!"

I was not surprised, upon opening my account, to find that everyone was not on facebook.com, but that it was nonetheless, a very popular networking site. I was actually swept up in the facebook.com craze and spent waaaaay too much time on it for several weeks.

What can you do on facebook.com?
  • There are common interest groups to join.
  • You can poke, slap with a trout (very VeggieTale-ish, actually), or defenestrate your friends. It's all virtual, don't worry. Yes, I had to look up "defenestrate" before I did it to someone, but now I defenestrate people all the time. Virtually.
  • Put a snowman or countdown to your favorite snowy holiday (he he--in January, no less) on your profile page.
  • Let everyone know that you're a conservative attending an otherwise extremely liberal university.
  • Give someone a gift of virtual chocolates.
  • Leave a video of your kids on your mom's wall, funwall, or superwall. (They'll run out of names for walls at some point--it's only a matter of time.)
  • If you don't take enough tests already (no, Clemens and Bonds, not those tests), take a quiz. My favorite are about Disney movies or geek culture.
  • Browse your friends' photo albums. Yes, I've heard it's risky, but no, out of the hundred of photos in my friends' albums, I've only seen a couple that would even qualify as slightly risqué.
  • Post your own photos. My profile is replete with pix of my children. Of course, even at one photo per child, that would still be more pix than some of my friends ever post.
  • Stump for Mitt Romney--he could still win! You might put him over the top if you contact enough of your friends!
  • Look up your friends' info. I've actually used facebook.com to get a friend's number to call and give him directions when he got lost on his way to see me.
  • See what your friends are reading or have read. My friends have probably figured out by now that I'm stalled in the middle of Les Miserables.
  • Write on your friends' walls. It's not as quick as texting, or as conversational as an IM, but it's great for saying "happy birthday," "I miss you," or "I know where you live and I'm gonna kick your dog!"

With all the third party apps being added on to facebook.com, the possibilities really expand:
  • There are games to play.
  • You can raise a dragon.
  • You can start your own racing team.
  • Raid an enemy starbase.
  • Test your stellar IQ. [blushes]
  • Compare (anonymously, thank goodness) your friends against each other. They can load the app and see the ratings. You get rated, too. You might have the best smile, or be the most trustworthy. Unfortunately, you might also be the best drinker or biggest whiner.
  • Contrast your taste in movies with your friends' tastes.
  • If writing on someone's wall isn't rebellious enough, you can leave some graffiti.

And these are just activities that I've done on facebook.com.

Things have quieted down now. There are the weird news feeds about the minutiae of my friends' lives, but that is mediated by connections with friends about whom I've often wondered.

Just today I added two friends from high school, one of whom I haven't heard from since graduation. Late last week I added some friends from Russia whom I haven't heard from since my mission. My sister is (really) on facebook.com, as are my two brothers and my mom. Some of my sisters-in-law and cousins are on facebook.com, and I have been invited to family functions through that connection.

Life-changing for me: keeping up with friends and family on a different scale and in a different way than I had previously thought possible.

Log on to facebook.com today. Accounts are free. Consider yourself poked. :)

- Jeremiah

(my current facebook.com profile pic)

(This post has NOT been sponsored by facebook.com or any of its affiliates.)

Life-changing link #3: Project Gutenberg

Traces of the Holidays - #2

Here's a pic of the kids with the cool hats that Auntie Cha-cha made for them.

Traces of the Holidays - #1

Games I'd let my kids play - Zwingo

Way too much time on their hands...

... but still a funny video! This takes me waaaaay back.


Bouncing baby girl

Just something funny that Abigail does...


Who's that foxy lady?

So, coincident with the issues that Tamara had with her eyelid, she discovered that she needed to put in a prescription for some eyeglasses.

Doesn't she look great?

Such a sweet boy...

My watch is on its last legs. Or hands, since watches don't have legs. It has lasted longer than any other watch that I've ever owned, which means that it has taken more abuse than any other watch. It's a G-Shock watch, though, and has stood the test of time, as it were.

As I sat down to dinner last night, I mentioned the demise of my chronometer to Tamara, but loudly enough that everyone at the table heard what I had said. Anthony got up out of his seat and held up his watch, which he had removed under the cover of the table.

"You can have mine, Daddy," he said sincerely with a smile. He was willing to give up his cool camouflage watch with a helicopter second hand because he knew it was a nice thing to do and that his daddy needed a watch.

What a lucky father I am.

Happy Birthday, Grandma-great!

There's a wind chill of -20° outside, but the Jones kids have warm birthday wishes for Grandma-great!


Traces of the Holidays - #1

This has got to be the best-looking Santa



The Big Winner!

In an odd twist of fate, Angie Lee of Seven Clown Circus fame, has won our 100th Post Giveaway. Why is it odd? I won her giveaway just months ago!

Angie made lucky comment #3 on our post, which corresponded to the random number generated on random.org (see below). Angie will have her pick of the variety of $10 gift certificates.

Would you say that I have a plethora of choices for gift certificates?

Congrats, Angie, and thanks to all our wonderful readers!

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2008-01-02 04:23:45 UTC