Saturday, December 10, 2011

OCCUPY: Home

Although I remain aloof from any of the OCCUPY movements I recognize that they are capturing some major headlines at the moment. I have been surprised and impressed at times by the commitment of some of the individuals who spend so much time in this cause. As I think of my schedule and consider how I could carve out the kind of time many of these interested parties are dedicating in an effort to make their message heard, I would have to cut into something else I do. I work. I serve in my church. I spend time with my family trying to be the best father and husband I can be. I have to admit that I wouldn't want to give up any of those commitments to my time.

Am I selfish? How could anything be accomplished if it wasn't protested in the streets by people making sacrifices? Those are both good questions. I will tackle both but attempt to be brief in my thoughts and explanations.

Am I selfish?

Yes, and no. I am selfish in focusing on where I think my priorities should be. I refuse to have others dictate to me where my priorities should be. Why have freedom if you cannot use it? My commitments to my God and my family take precedent. I don't deny that. I have been given very little time with my children and my wife. I want to make that time count and not spend the empty nest years of my life wondering why I didn't spend more time with my children when I could have.

I would not consider myself completely selfish because a lot of my time is spent serving others and not my own vain ambitions. Every slice of time we give is a demonstration of where our heart is. Spending time with my children playing a game can be an effort to help them learn. I happen to love it but it is a gift to spend the diminishing resource of time with someone else. Anything I do in my church activity is for the benefit of others. I usually receive many benefits from that service but it is not the driving force behind my willingness serve.

How could anything be accomplished if it wasn't protested in the streets by people making sacrifices?

I firmly believe every social ill and plague can be solved better by working in one's home than protesting in the streets. Lasting change comes when childen are reared in homes where love abounds and responsibility is taught. I know that isn't the reality right now but we have a front row seat to the impossible challenge of trying to fix society through legislation and regulation. No amount of government interaction will reduce dishonesty or people who have a desire to take advantage of another. We have just too many people that don't care.

We must have a firm commitment to raise the next generation teaching them about attributes such as honesty and integrity. They must feel genuine love. They must have time with their parents in order to be taught. Too many parents are working too much. Their kids just want more of their time. Many spend more waking hours at daycares during the week than they do with their parents. On weeknights and weekends when they could be home with their parents learning from patterned behavior, many pass that precious time at ball fields and other leisure activities. Many homes are broken. I grew up in a broken home so don't think I don't have some experience that regard and how it isn't always a choice.

Kids see too much that isn't reality. They see "reality" television which is anything but reality. They see the constant disregard for human life in the television programs, video games and movies as well as expressed verbally in music and then we wonder and scratch our heads how current horrific scenes of violence take place across the world.

Parents and educators are fearful of teaching their children the difference between what is right and wrong because they may be legally reprimanded or bullied publicly for their beliefs. Instead, almost anything goes morally. The lack of a clear line between right and wrong leads to everything being a shade of gray and rationalized under those pretenses.

So, where does my protesting take place against what I see as the root of society's ills? Where do I feel the greatest good can be done for the future? Who do I stand next to as I take a stand against evil forces designed to destroy the very fabric of this world? I OCCUPY my home. As often as I can for as long as I can. I ask the questions during family dinner each night. I help with the homework. I give a lot of hugs and kisses. I encourage creativity. I correct behavior when necessary. I help them draw the life lessons from the activity that happens to them every day. I dry the tears. I wipe the noses. I hold the tired or sick bodies. I fold the laundry and do the dishes. I communicate with my partner in this endeavor who happens to also be my best friend. I thank God for the opportunities and don't hesitate to ask for His help in all I do.

I am not better than anyone else. My priorities and perspective may be different. We all walk according to the burning in our hearts. This post reflects mine. You will never see my name on the news for doing some great deed or being in the spotlight. Nevertheless, my actions impact the future.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

She Got Me!

My little Lauren is a pretty amazing girl. She is so sweet and tenderhearted....and as secretive and sneaky as a CIA operative. When our kids have reached about her age (almost 3.5 years old) they really don't want to take naps anymore. However, there are times they really need them. Today was one of those days. I knew she would be refreshed by a little nap in the afternoon today.

In order to get her to fall asleep I have to lay down with her. The problem is that I usually fall asleep as well. It's nice to get some extra sleep but, as you all know, the list is endless of things to get done. So, I laid down with Lauren and after about 10 minutes she started breathing like she was asleep. I slowly went up on an elbow to see her face, which was facing the other direction, and her eyes were filled with sleep but not quite there yet. I put my head back down and thought 5 more minutes should do it.

After the 5 minutes I could hear that deep sleep breathing just like April has when she is out cold. I mentally celebrated and got up ever so quietly and cautiously and ninja tip-toed out of the room.

I decided to check Facebook which I don't do very often. I am looking at status updates and trying to wish every person who has a birthday on 9/11 (about a million) a "Happy Birthday". I started hearing these little squeels coming from not very far away. I thought to myself that although it sounded like Lauren it must be one of the twins since Lauren was out cold. I kept typing madly away (which I am not good at). I continued to hear these little squeels and could also hear the twins in the other room reading to themselves (eventhough they can't read yet).

I decided I needed to find the source of the squeels. I guess I should have mentioned that Jackson was in his room asleep as well so I knew it wouldn't be him. I didn't have to go very far to find the source. Behind the side of the couch in our family room was a crouching Lauren reading a book. She looked up and saw me. As she often does, I could see her face get this, "Uh oh, I have been caught" face quickly followed by a "Aren't I precious?" smile.

I was in a bit of shock. I am not easy to fool. I know my kids tricks before they even try them, however, Lauren, you got me. You played possom so well I should call the CIA right now to start having them train you to hone your skills to hopefully benefit all of my mankind. I just hope we can keep your powers for good before the likes of Lex Luthor, Doctor Doom or Emperor Palpatine come looking for you to join their forces.

I love you, Lauren, simply because you are you. Perfectly sweet and perfectly unique. Lots of trouble and lots of love.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ward Halloween Party

On 10/24, we had a Ward Halloween Party that was a lot of fun. It was also a chili cook off and I love chili. Our favorite part of the Halloween party is the Trunk or Treat portion of the activity. The kids have a lot of fun in a very safe candy-grabbing environment. However, it also begins the great candy pile up in our house.

We had a fantastic time and this year there were crafts and pumpkin bowling. Those were new this year and I think they were great additions.

Enjoy some pictures from before and during the event.



























Just Some Good Ole Boys

It does not happen very often...but when it does - it is always something to be remembered. A few weeks ago the "guys" got together for a traditional "guy night". Good old fashioned BBQ'd tri-tip and lots of video games. I am not a big gamer myself but we like to get together and play Rockband once and a while. Thanks, Chris, for putting your house up for this rockin' party and all those who cooked something nice.

Things I learned:

1. Trent's dislike for Transformers 2 (on most points I am right there with him).
2. I thought I knew the words to Van Halen's "Panama" and I really didn't. But, as I was singing them I think I was realizing they are not good at all.
3. Matt has a great recipe for baked beans.
4. Matt really likes the song White Wedding.
5. Chris BBQ's a nice tri tip.
6. Tim likes to avoid having to sing on all the games.

All in all, it was a great night. Enjoy some pictures and maybe a video (I will have to add the video later - April has saved it somewhere I can't find it anymore).



Friday, August 21, 2009

For April

I hope you enjoy this. I have been meaning to make it for awhile. The song is Say by John Mayer.
video

Sunday, May 17, 2009

My Little Lauren is 2!



Two years ago our biggest baby was born. She weighed in at 10 pounds and 5 ounces! She looked like her shoulders had pads on them and her head was huge. I was very scared that those features may stay with her. However, it was not long before she shrunk down to an appropriate size. She is a cute little dainty girl.

She has taught us so much. Most of our children have been pretty quiet and obedient. Lauren has so much spirit it is hard to contain her sometimes. She knows what she wants and I think she has inherited my stubborness.

She is also hilarious. She loves to tease her older brothers and sisters. Last night the kids were all putting on some new pajamas. Logan was the last one to get dressed and he couldn't find his bottoms. We looked at Lauren and she was trying to put them on over her pajama dress. When she saw Logan was interested in getting them back. She ran away from him behind a table and Logan was really having a hard time catching her. She is sneaky.

She still loves to rummage through the garbage to see if there is anything she wants to play with or eat. She is definitely one of those kids that when you don't hear them - they are up to no good.

She still loves to cuddle and definitely makes it known that mommy and daddy's laps our reserved for her if she decides she wants to sit on them.

Happy birthday my little girl! Here are some recent pics:





Monday, January 19, 2009

Jackson Ralph


Absence makes the heart grow fonder. I think that is why I have not posted in a million years. So much has happened in the time since I posted last but I would definitely say the highlight was throwing up and being glued to the toilet all Christmas Eve day and night. Memories. Just kidding, of course. On January 8th my second son was born. It was a fun-filled day of waiting in the hospital, watching my wife in extreme pain, and not have the epidural work as it should. Again, just kidding. Those things did happen and it was a fun-filled day but the main shining moment was meeting Jackson Ralph. He weighed 9 pounds and 2 ounces and was 21 inches long. That may seem pretty big but my wife was happy that he didn't come close to our last daughter was almost 10 and 1/2 pounds.

All of our kids names have personal meanings (as most kids around the world) to April and I. It has always been a way of keeping our family always in our hearts. Most of te name are after family in one way or another.

So, why Jackson? Jackson is a name we had in our minds from the time we knew we were having twins. Then, we found out we were having girl twins and the name went on hold for awhile. We all rejoiced when we found out we were having a boy. April had a Grandpa Jack that she remembers well and was very fond of. She especially remembers his kindness towards her. Jackson was an easy extension of Jack and we liked it, We do plan on calling him Jackson instead of Jack though. The kids have thought of some good nicknames already. Haylie calls him Jacksie. It sounds very cute coming from her.

Well, why Ralph? The name may seem extremely outdated and old fashioned. It may seem another name for throwing up, but Ralph was my Grandpa Baird. Growing up without a father in the home, my Grandpa was the one who I would help in the yard. He was the one that helped me build my pinewood derby cars for cub scouts (I did win first place once!!). He conferred the Aaronic Priesthood on me as a 12 year old. I remember that has hands always shook. It was hard for him to do things like write and give blessings, but always appreciated that he still made that ordination.

I vividly remember my Grandpa bearing his testimony around his birthday every year. He would say how much he loved his family and that they were active in the gospel. He would also bear a strong testimony of the latter-day prophets. I didn't doubt that he knew the church was true.

When I was 14 years old I was assigned to be his home teaching companion. He was extremely faithful in that calling and I enjoyed getting to know the people we home taught. I gained an even greater appreciation for the elderly and how they enrich the world we live in. I am sad to see so many pass on. The next generation of elderly sees the world in a different light. Anyway, I learned the importance of every one in the church watching out for each other.




I could go on and on with memories of my Grandpa and stories he has told me. I am so happy that my oldest two children remember him well. He passed away on December 20, 2007. I feel he has left a rich legacy of faithful service in the church and I feel a desire to be like him and have my children know what a great man he was.

So, that is where Ralph comes from. Watch out world! We're bringing Ralph back!!