The Fam

The Fam
Family Photos Fall 2015

Friday, February 28, 2014

Day 15: A song you love singing along to

When we travel we do it to music. When I say we I mean me the wife and kids.  We turn the volume up louder than we probably should and start head banging.    We generally create a play list that works for everyone it is very close if not the same as the one we listen to when we clean the house.  We all know the songs and have no problem belting them out.  My daughter Payton has a super power of being able to listen and remember songs.  She can listen to them once or twice on the radio and have the lyrics down.  She can also understand what they are saying however thankfully on most times she does not understand the meaning of what they are saying.  It is tons of fun for me to see her in the rear view mirror rapping or belting out some song just because she likes it. 

There are two songs that the whole group gets excited to sing to

I Gotta feeling by the Black Eyed Peas.  Today is the first day I ever saw this video and it is a strong reminder why we don't have TV at our house.  After I watched half of it I decided not to post it. 

The other song is Waka Waka by Shakira

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Day 14: A song that reminds you of your wife

When Rhonda and I were dating we decided we needed a song.  I am not sure why or how but we selected one together it was off of a new album I had just purchased by Rod Stewart.  The album was "spanner in the works"  it was one if his less known and less popular productions however I truly loved it and still listen to it.  The song that we selected was track #5.  I am surprised I still remember that.  I went and checked to make sure, and I was correct.  I am not going crazy yet...but give sometime you never know what can happen.  The song is simply called "This" and it makes me happy to listen to.  I like her lots, you never know we may even decide to make this relationship thing permanent.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Day 12: The last song you heard

When I saw this post topic I was not sure what to do.  Should I listen to a song on purpose so I can write about it, or should I do just listen to the radio or something else?  I chose something else.  I went to my iTunes library to where all the songs are listed hit random them play.  I then decided to write about the first song that came up.  We have over 32 gigs of music.  It would take about a month listening 24 hours a day to work your way through it.  So I figured it was a safe bet.  I was wrong.  Have you ever had a song that was a guilty pleasure at the time and saw the error of your ways but still don't have the nerve or desire to delete it.  That's where this song by Billy Ray Cyrus comes in.  But don't tell me about tell it to my achy breaky heart.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Day 11: A song on the soundtrack of your favorite movie

I am a slacker.  I forgot to do this last night so todays post is lame.  At one time Armageddon was my favorite movie, I watched it all the time.  It had a great sound track as well. 

Aerosmith, I don't want to miss a thing

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Day 10: A song by your favorite band

This one is harder than I thought it would be.  I have different favorite bands or performers depending on what stage of my life I am thinking about.  In high school my albums of choice were Poison's "Look what the Cat dragged in", Van Halen's "5150" or Def Leopards "Hysteria".  Later after my mission I went through an Erasure phase and when I met my wife it started the country music portion of my life.  Since then I have moved through Rascal Flats, Matchbox 20 and right now my favorite artist by far is Pink.  But I think the song that best sums me up was a band that had amazing vocal abilities however they could not dance to save their lives.  They tried and tried but that was not their strength.  Their strength were amazing dance beats and an incredible new sound that won them a grammy for new artist of the year.  I loved them so much this was the very first CD I bought in December 1989.  After I bought the album it came out they actually did not really sing their own music.  So my favorite band in that period of my life could not sing or dance.  Yes you guessed it I am speaking about Milli Vanilli.

I am including two videos from this time in my life.  One of Milli Vanilli performing their #1 hit "Baby don't forget my number".  After I selected this song I watched the video and I was honestly shocked at how bad it was.  I am talking Junior High drama club with no practice bad.  It was embarrassing to watch and even more embarrassing to admit that I once liked it.  Even all those years ago I remember thinking this is really not that polished.  I have also included a comedy skit from the TV show "In living Color" mocking Milli Vanilli and their dance skills or lack there of.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Day 9: A song that makes you hopeful

I love the holiday season and all the joy it brings to our family and loved ones.  The holiday songs instill hope charity and love to all of Gods children.  They sing about peace on earth and goodwill to man.  It can't help but bring a tear to your eye.  Here is one song that gives me more hope than any of the others.

This post should make me the sure fire winner for the son-in-law of the year award.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Day 8: A song that reminds you of your first love

It was the 2nd grade in Mrs. Williams class at Meridian Primary School,  Jenny James and I would go to lunch and them play together at recess, she even kissed me on the merry go round...I was a player.  We were like two ships passing in the night.  Only we also went to church together and our families went to dinner together what seemed like every week.  We were less like ships passing in the night and more like trains on the same track being told where to go by our parents.

I would go over to her house and she had this big poster of Sean Cassidy in her bedroom.  There was an ongoing argument who was better Sean Cassidy or Elvis Presley.  I would say he is the King of Rock and the rebuttal would be Sean Cassidy is the Prince of Rock.  Well a king is higher than a prince therefor I win.  Elvis Presley is dead, Sean Cassidy is going to be way bigger than he ever was.  It has been 34 years I think Elvis might have won that particular contest.  I did not realize it until I started writing this post that Sean Cassidy actually sang disco so he was never the prince of anything except for maybe bell bottom pants and platform shoes. There was one song that she played over and over and it was not even his song he sampled it from the all girl group The Crystals.  Here it is in all its mirrored ball, satin pants and feathered hair glory.  Is it me or does this dude look a lot like Justin Bieber.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Day 7: A song that reminds you of the past summer

I am going to go back a few years for this one.  When Rhonda and I were first married we lived in Silverdale WA and I commuted to work to Tacoma WA.  It was about a 40 mile drive.  We needed to save money to move to Georgia, so I had to take a 2nd job.  I ended up delivering pizzas for Pizza Hut in Tacoma.  It was one of the most fun jobs I have ever had.  I got to buzz around the hood in my little Honda CRX slinging pizzas at all the gang bangers.  I worked in the hilltop area and for those of you not familiar with Tacoma when you hear about a drive by shooting or violent crime it is most likely in hilltop.  I got off work at my day job about 6:00pm and worked until midnight at The Hut. We were not allowed to deliver to a big chunk of the area after dark as a precaution to prevent us from getting robbed.    In Puget Sound during the summer and the sun stays out until about 10:00.  It is also a really well kept secret the weather in Seattle in the summer is fabulous.  I would drive around dodging bullets, hiding from drug dealers trying not to get car jacked all in 30 minutes or less to insure your pizza was hot and fresh.

I remember one song in particular that the radio station seemed to play every 20 minutes. It just seemed to ooze summer time fun like stuffed crust oozes cheese.  I would drive down 6th avenue with my arm out the window trying not to make eye contact with anyone just jamming to the radio.

Ginas BLog

Dedra's Blog

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Day 6: A song that reminds you of your best friend

Just for the record my wife is my best friend.  There are a couple of blog post to come that will cover her and music.  So I am dedicating this song to my guy friends.  I have been blessed with many great friends in my life time.  But when I think of friends and it comes to music there are two songs that automatically come to mind.  I am not sure why these two or so deeply ingrained but here they are.

Ryan Brunson and I served our missions together in Philippines.  We lived in a house in Sa Pang Palay Bulacan.  It was a really big house that doubled as the chapel for the branch we had the privilege to open for the church.  It was an awesome experience.  The first Sunday there we had 8 members 4 of whom were missionaries.  Two months later we had close to 80 people attending every week.  The music was played by a member who brought his guitar.  He played along to the hymns while the members sang.  After the block Ryan picked up his guitar and started to play a rift that only I recognized.  I came out from the other side of the house and asked who was playing the music.  He said it was him, I didn't know he played the guitar until that moment in time and I asked him to play it again.  He did and that song will forever be ingrained in my mind as an almost church song...almost. 

You have to remember when we went our our missions Hair Metal was still really big and I really liked it.  There were some real signs of withdrawal I had to work through.

Robert Judd  performed a classic Johnny Cash song "Ring of Fire" with his family at a ward talent show 4 years ago.  I recorded it for posterity and all of his co-workers. In all that time it has only received  176 views not exactly going viral but it is still fun to watch.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Day 5: A song that is often stuck in your head

I have one song that I cannot stand to listen to because when it is over I cant shake it. When this little bugger gets its claws into me sit back and enjoy the ride because it is going to be there for days.  The simple fact that I have to write about it will probably cost me hours of peace and quiet in the days to come.  Have you ever seen a picture of those sucker fish that latch onto sharks as they go through the water.  That is what this song does to my soul it slowly sucks the life out of me.  When Barney the purple dinasour sings the song that never ends or his other "I love you, you love me..."  it is childs play compared to this song.

Don't say I didn't warn you!

Gina's Blog

Dedra's Blog

Monday, February 17, 2014

Day 4: A song that calms you down

I read the title of this day and I thought "What song calms me down?".  Nothing came to me.  I asked my wife "What song calms me down?' she said "Your never calm. You use music to go the other way."  It is true when I want to slow things down around the house I turn the music off.  If the song is going to slow I advance to the next one.

I did make a commitment to do this blog challenge thing so I dug deeper into the recesses of my soul.  When I was younger I used to try to sleep with the radio on so when it would go off in the morning as an alarm clock I could sleep through it.  A brilliant plan I know. Even now when I travel on airplanes I get my seat put on my sunglasses and headphones turn on some music and fall asleep.  Growing up in a family with 8 kids the ability to sleep through noise has been a real blessing.  It is something that has served me my entire life.

I had a tape I went to sleep with it playing.  I would start it at the beginning of whatever side did not need rewinding.  Here are the first songs one if from side A the other is from side B.  Who does not love a little FYC and Men without Hats.

Side A

Side B

Dedra's Blog

Ginas Blog

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Day 3: A song that reminds you of one or both of your parents

 There was always music playing in our home as I grew up.  When we moved to Dundee, Oregon the house had a stereo intercom system built-in and we could pipe music through the entire house...and we did.  We worked to music, studied to music, family members played and created their own.  Even now when it is time to work who ever is closest to the computer fires up iTunes and starts the "Housework" playlist.

My parents have very different tastes in music.  Dad was a little bit country and Mom was a little bit rock-n-roll.  My parents divorced when I was 2 years old.  They remarried each other a few years later.   Weird, I know.  During this time my Mom was in her 20's and still liked going out so she would practice dancing in the living room and we would get to dance with her.  I learned at a very young age I was not blessed with rhythm or a natural dancing ability.  She would play the same 45 record over and over and over.  The Bay City Rollers.  The hit "Saturday Night."  We would dance all day long to it.  As we got older it was still a treat to hear.  As I was writing this blog my oldest daughter just walked by and heard this song and randomly said "I hate that song.  It drives me crazy".  She is from the shallow end of the gene pool.


The song that reminds me of my Dad is one I don't hear very often.  During this same time in my life my Dad was a long haul truck driver and at times we got to ride in his truck.  He had these two briefcases full of cassette tapes he carried around with him.  I would ask to listen to the song about the alligator.  I didn't know the name of it, but I still loved it.  The song is actually performed by Jonny Horton and is called "The Battle of New Orleans".  At the time my Dad was very accommodating.  He would play the song then rewind it and play it again.  It had to get old for him but it was completely cool to a 3-4 year old.

Gina's Blog

Dedra's Blog

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Day 2: A song that reminds you of your most recent ex-boyfriend/girlfriend

OK this is a tough one.  I am going on 18 years of marriage and I had to sit down and think about who my last ex-girlfriend was.  After I figured out who that was I realized we are still friends and I don't want to be a jerk so we are going to skip back a few years before her.  There are two very clear songs that remind me of girls.  One is kind of cute and sweet so I will tell that story.  One is horrible and completely mean so I will tell that story as well.  Just to keep things sort of nice I will leave names out.

There was one girl I dated before my mission I would have totally wanted to date after my mission, however she got married while I was gone.  Bummer for me at the time, but I totally scored big when I got home after my mission and met my wife.  Anyway back to the other girl, we went to some dance (prom or homecoming or something) my senior year and she wore a long red dress.  It looked amazing and I was totally in love.  The last song they played at the dance was by Chris Deburg his one hit "The Lady in Red".  It was a classic love song that he wrote for his wife.  It has been well over 20 years from that dance but whenever I hear that song it makes me smile.  It also makes be totally mad because when she got married on my mission she just sent me a wedding invite as a Dear John.  Ya that really sucked.

The next song is one of those moments I cannot apologize for enough.  I know the girl this is about does not read my blog so I'm going to take a gamble and tell this story.  We were dating and it was going along fine.  I was completely content going out to movies and dances and keeping nice and casual.  She wanted to go steady, or exclusive, or something like that and it did not work for me.  I said, "no let's just keep things how they are" and then she went a bit crazy-psycho-clingy.  So much for the casual let's just-have-fun thing.

I did not know what to do so I asked advice from my friends (never do that by the way).  I decided to end it with her.  Not in a nice or kind way say by text or email.  No, those wern't invented yet and I didn't have that much class.  Instead I sent her a note that contained a tape with one song on it.  The note said "Dear _______,  Take the hint.  Love Ryan".  I did not speak to this girl for almost 15 years after this happened.  It took her that long to get over the initial rage.  To say I deserved it would be an understatement.  Teenage boys are really insensitive jerks, and frankly I was their king.  The song is by Dead or Alive and is called "Brand New Lover".  I found a copy of the video that has the lyrics too.  You don't get the full effect of what I did until you listen to the words.  Yes I deserve every cruel comment and thought you think of me when you watch this video.  Boys are really jerks.

Dedra's Blog

Gina's Blog

Friday, February 14, 2014

Day 1: A song from my childhood

This is the first of a 25 day blog challenge that 2 of my sisters and I are doing together.  We have agreed to post to our blogs at the same time and not discuss our blog post in advance.  We also agreed to make sure that their is a link to the song we are talking about so it does not become some sort of inside joke.

In 1985 one of the greatest movies of all time came out.  I was only 13 years old but even at that young age I new this was a classic to rival Citizen Kane (which was totally boring), The Wizard of Oz (completly scared me and I still refuse to watch it),  and Gone with the Wind (3 hour long temper tantrum of a really high strung chick).  The movie I am taking about is TOP GUN!  It has  been almost 30 years and it is as good now as it was when it first came out.  I had a VHS tape that I had a copy of Top Gun and Bill and Teds Excellent Adventure on.  I would get home from school and pop that thing into the VCR and watch it every day.  I would sit on the couch with it playing in the background as I did my home work.  The funny thing is my sister had her own VHS tape with the movie musical Grease on it.  If  I left the living room she would take out my movie and put hers in.  So I alway made sure to go to the bathroom first and bring snacks so I would not have to get off of the couch.

The title track to that movie is a song called Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins.  The first 6 notes on a keyboard synthesizer are so specific and recognizable anyone who has ever seen the movie or heard the song cant help but smile when they hear it.  So without further delay the song from the single greatest movie of 1985 (Hoosiers pulled a close 2nd).

This movie and song came form a time in my life that was pre digital and pre ipod.  I could only watch it or listen to it at home or at a friends house.  Whenever I hear this song or see the movie it always takes me back to that time in my life.

This is a nod to my sister Heather who had a life long dream of a bunch of cute sailers singing this song to her.  Ya this movie had a little something for everyone.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

25 day Blog Challenge

My sisters and I were talking this week and we decided to do a blog challenge together.  Dedra found one that is the da best and we going to be starting it shortly.  Here is our plan:

We will post the same topic on our different blogs.  You can see mine here.  Dedra's at: and Gina's at:

This should be fun.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Nice pet, please don't make me touch it.

We have a cat that came with our house.  The kids named her/him (we are not sure after 18 months) T.S. Elliot.  As she (we have come to refer to it as a her but again we are not totally sure) sits on our back porch or calls from the back door we will on occasion throw the odd scrap to her in order to keep her around.  She is a serious mouser.  She will bring whole or parts of a mouse to the back door for us.  The kids have taken videos of her eating mice and playing with her quarry.

I am not a pet person.  I have never owned a dog, or until now a cat, for more than a week or two.  I have had animals that serve a purpose like cows, chickens, goats, and turkeys.  I don't have that "man's best friend" thing going on.  In fact I go completely the other direction.  Looking at the cat sitting on the back porch it made me think "what kind of cool stuff could they do"?

For instance, can animals wink at you?  Close one eye on purpose to get your attention?  I somehow doubt it but it would be cool to see.  I have seen Stupid Pet Tricks on Late Night with David Letterman so I know they can dance, jump, skate, surf, roll over and play dead.  But what about fold the clothes, clean the bathroom, vacuum the house, wash the car, mow the lawn or something really useful to warrant having to pick up all the little gifts they leave in your yard?  Dogs like to dig.  Could they be taught to weed a garden?  I would pay for a dog like that. 

Whenever I ask these questions of dog owners they look at me like I am smoking something that belongs in Washington or Colorado.  It is then followed up by some comment like "are you kidding?! They are members of the family. I couldn't do that to them!"  I will tell you what as soon as they get a social security number and I can get a tax deduction for them I will consider them a member of the family, until then they are a simple non-contributor.  I had the chance to eat more than one dog on my mission in the Philippines (tasted like goat only greasier).  If I make any reference towards that as a purpose for a dog, I am the heartless one.  What's with that?

Something that I really don't understand are dog people who take their dogs with them everywhere.  To the store, get gas, on their lap while driving, out for a walk with the dog in a stroller, etc...  Then those non-dog loving types like myself are somehow the bad guy when I don't approve.  It has taken years but family knows the animal-friendly-zone ends at my driveway.  Don't bring your critters to leave in your car and don't even think about bringing them into my house.  It is really about boundaries. 

I just read this post and it comes across that I am a total animal hater.  I'm not.  I can appreciate their beauty and acknowledge they are a positive influence in some peoples' lives.  I just like the opportunity to say I don't want them in my life and please don't force them onto me.  If I want to look at, see, touch, or hear your critter, I will let you know.  But until then assume I am good just knowing you have one somewhere, where I am not.

Monday, February 10, 2014

First day in the new ward

Today is the first time we get to go to church after the ward split last week.  We lost over 240 members of our ward and are gaining 50 or so from another.  So our net change is going from well over 500 members to just over 300.  This means that people who have historically sat in the over flow in the Gym are now able to move into the Chapel. 

We get to church about 15-20 minutes before the meeting starts.  There are 2 reasons for this.  One to teach out kids the importants of being on time.  We all have a friend no matter what the event dinner, church, child birth or going to the movies they are going to be late.  We love these friends and we have learned how to manage them over the years.  You lie to them and tell them everything starts 30 minutes earlier than they really do.  Unfortunately, with church they will figure this out and start coming late after a few weeks.  I was in the the bishopric with a brother whose wife was late every week.  We would be on the stand getting ready to start the opening hymn and prayer and she was nowhere to be found. After several weeks of this we started to take bets, or "guesses" on when she would show up.  To his credit it took almost 3 months for him to join in.  Up until them he would always say "no.. I think she will be on time".  If money had been involved I could have totally paid for my kids' college education.

The 2nd reason is that we want a padded bench in the chapel.  One big enough to fit our family and the occational stray our kids pick up from someone else's family.  When I was released from the Bishopric my family had grown in the 6 years I did not sit with them.  We still had 5 kids, however their bodies got bigger and we could no longer all fit onto the same bench when I sat with them... cue fat joke.  My solution was to get to church early and take over the benches other families historically sat in.  A game of who could be displaced and watch the domino effect.  However the peacemaking wife said no.  Sometimes I wonder if she feels like she has 6 kids instead of only 5.  Well that is a conversation for another day.

Back to my original thought of where to sit today.  All the families we normally sit by have been moved to other wards.  I am sure it will take a few weeks for the new territories to be established.  We will likely sit where we always have if for no other reason I can see my deacons and insure they are not messing around before the sacrament. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

The ward splitting aftermath

Well the wards got split and there was more than one surprise.  Two new wards were created and now that I think about it, it was poinient that it fell on Superbowl Sunday.  The one game a year most people watch and everyone has an opinion on what should have happened.  It was a lot like church on Sunday, everyone had an opinion on what should have happened and their opinion in most cases would have directly affected themselves.  Let me give you a few examples of border line comical comments that were heard:

  • "I better get my old calling back in my new ward or I am going to be really mad".  OK lets think about this.  Callings are meant to help you grow and learn.  They are given to us from inspired leaders.  Exactly who will you be mad and why?   The Bishop of course because he gets the revelation thing right for everyone except you.  He should really ask you what is the best way to run the ward too.  If he is wrong on your calling I wonder what other things he is missing?

  • What does a Seattle fan do when the Superbowl is over?  Stick around and watch the 2nd half of course.

  • "What they should have done is put the boundary on the other side of my street so I would  be in the same ward as the ________ family.  That would have worked better for everyone."  Did it ever cross your mind that maybe the boundary was put where it was so that you would not be in the other ward.  Its way better for everyone over there especially the _______ family.

  • Someone should let Denver know the Superbowl was Sunday we don't want them to forget to show up...oh wait.

  • "I am surprised the Brother_______ was not made a Bishop.  He would have been a much better choice".  The funny thing about leadership is that there are only so many spots.  It is a mathematical impossibility for every able person to be the Bishop or Relief Society President.  We can be disappointed by this or breath a sigh of relief.  The same thing holds true to nursery leader, scout master or ward mission leader.  Those are some duck and cover callings that you run when you see coming.  However they all prepare us for something different.  And frankly anybody who aspires to a stake or "high" ward calling it is my prayer they get it.  The fun should end right after the first high council or ward council meeting. 

  • Did you hear they had a football game at the Bruno Mars concert last week?

  • "Well I will just go to my old ward instead.  I know all the people and it is much better for me".  WOW this one is my favorite.  Lets think this through.  Our Stake presidency spent over a year on these changes, sent them to be approved by the first presidency (I heard one or two of them are prophets or something like that) then spent countless hours after that calling and planning new leaders.  During which time many of the stake members probably came up at least once or twice by name.  Not to mention your old Bishop was doing the happy dance when he saw what side of the line your house fell on.  So after all of that your going to go back?  Then claim (this part comes in a few weeks) that your changing back to your old ward is inspired.  OK because none of that went on until now I guess.

  • "If they try and release me I won't let them".  OK let me know how that works out.  OH wait the Stake president did it already.  Coolest thing ever.  He stood at the pulpit and said if your ward boundary has changed you are released.  Not a lot of room to ask questions in that particular interview.  I was smiling inside when he said it because it made me think of the person who said the earlier comment.  My wife would not let me go to them and ask a follow up about how keeping their calling was going.
These may come across as cynical or a bit callous and to be honest they probably should.  Change is a huge part of life.  I still hear people talking about the old 2nd ward split that happened 8 years ago like there is something that should be done now.  Well something has been done.  The church is growing and new units have been created.  Has anyone looked at a map or a calendar and figured out if we keep growing like this in 3-5 years there is a strong possibility of 2 Middleton Stakes?  Now that will twist a lot of knickers. Nothing but good times for those of us who like change and enjoy watching others get spun up about things they have absolutely no control over.  I will just pop a batch of popcorn, sit back and enjoy the show.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Amazing things my children say

Kids say the craziest things.  Sometimes its funny and other times it wise beyond their years.  Here are a few of the nuggets of wisdom that have fallen out of my kids mouths recently:

Parent: You need to get the laundry done
Child:  Why do I have to do it?
Parent: Its all your clothes
Child: That's not fair, Harmon already did all his he should have to do my too.

Dad you need to do something about your car it smells like fart.

Parent:  Its 10:30 and you have school tomorrow
Child: But you said I could play video games for 15 minutes
Parent: You are grounded from video games
Child: You should have thought about that before you said I could play

                                  Later that night different kid  11:00

Parent: Why are you still up?
Child: I can't sleep
Parent: Have you been to bed yet?
Child: No
Parent: Do you think that might be part of the reason you cant sleep?
Child: I don't know I hadn't thought about it
Parent: GO TO BED NOW!

                               later that night different kid  11:20

Parent: Why are you still up?
Child: Mom and Dad I forgot to do my homework.
Parent: Why are you only telling us that now?
Child: I forgot, it will only take 10 minutes.

Dad if you only trimmed one eye brow people would think you are always winking at them.

If we can train the goats to not eat the good plants could they weed the garden instead of us?