Monday, June 8, 2009

Voldemort with his Peeps, Yo !!!

One of our family traditions I look forward to the most, is reading bedtime stories to our two daughters. (Adam will soon be getting his separate bedtime story time on account of his earlier bedtime.) Over the last few years, we've been reading the Harry Potter series. Just these past few days, we reached the end of book 6 and have begun book 7 (the last one).

To keep their minds active and to help them keep the plot line going in their brains, I usually ask at the start every night: "Do you remember where we left off?" The night before, we had just started the 7th book and made it halfway through the 1st chapter. Their response to my question turned out pretty funny. Rachel said: "Voldemort was sitting around a big table, talking with his . . . peeps". Well, Hannah (like she does so often), took this sudden opportunity to quickly act the part of a hip-hop, rappin' Voldemort, and said something in character like: "Yo, my peeps! I want you to help me find a boy called Harry Potter, so I can kill him, yo!"

You have to know Hannah pretty well to appreciate how funny this is. I didn't laugh so much at her interpretation of the scene - she tries to talk like a hip-hop rapper much to much for my taste. I couldn't help but laugh because of the way she laughs when she finds something completely hilarious. It's infectious.

I'm excited to take them to the next Harry Potter movie coming out in theaters next month, to see how closely the plot follows book 6.

After we finish reading the Harry Potter series, it will be time to open up to them the world of "The Hobbit".

Sometimes I wonder how old Rachel will be before she doesn't want to be read a bedtime story anymore. She'll be turning 12 this coming winter.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The State of My Health

The last time I remember getting a physical was more than 20 years ago while getting ready for a 50-mile hike as a boy scout.

I rarely get sick, and I usually feel strong and healthy. Life has been about making sure the rest of my family is healthy and getting them the medical attention they need.

Now that I have reached my mid-30s, I thought it might be a good idea to get some things checked out. Every year, in our little town, they hold a health fair. For the past few years I haven't taken advantage of it, but this year I did, to an extent.

A few weeks previous to the health fair and after a 12-hour fast, the lab at the hospital/health clinic took my blood sample and tested it for a couple dozen different things. The intent is for us to go and pick up our results at the health fair and be able to discuss these results with doctors and nurses, and take advantages of other health screenings, etc. I had to work that day, and couldn't make it, but I went to the hospital this morning and picked up my blood test results.

They tested for all kinds of things like, glucose, sodium, calcium, protein, phosphates, triglycerides, etc. Two things came back as out of the normal range: my Overall Cholesterol and my LDL Cholesterol. My numbers are in the borderline-high category (between normal and high).

So now, I'm learning all I can about cholesterol and LDL and HDL.

Some of my early findings: LDL is commonly known as the "bad" cholesterol. HDL is commonly known as the "good" or "healthy cholesterol". My HDL number is toward the higher end of the normal range. A higher HDL is better (I think) and can help to offset a bad LDL number. To bring my cholesterol numbers down, I need to avoid foods high in saturated fats and trans fats. I need to increase my intake of fruits and vegetables and soluble fiber. Oatmeal can be a big help here.

I'm happy that my cholesterol is the only result that came back on the high end of things. Otherwise, I'm a healthy, healthy Brad. I've never had any idea of what's going on in there. And now, it's good to have some kind of base line for the future.

The moral of the story: Bring on the oatmeal !!! :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Digitzing the Past

Years ago, when we bought our digital camera, we've been taking pictures and saving them on our computer to enable us to share them with friends and family. What a great advancement in technology!

But what about all those older photos from back in the days of film-only photography?

Last year, on the day after Chirstmas 2007, we took advantage of a price-slashing day-after-Christmas sale and bought a combined copier, scanner, printer. Only just lately, have we discovered that the scanner actually works much better than we assumed.

So, Melissa and I have been going through our older photographs and scanning them in and saving them on our computer. This is great! When I get them all ready, I will begin posting some picture blog stories about me, from way back when, so you can get to know me a little better. So keep your eyes open for several trips down my memory lane!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Happy Halloween

Another Halloween has come and gone. We had a good time. This year, Adam was old enough to start enjoying it more . . . although he got pretty tired and cranky by the time we finished trick-or-treating. Rachel dressed up as a Renaissance Lady; Hannah dressed up as a Karate Girl; and we put Adam in a Little Doggy costume. We first walked around our little neighborhood here, then drove around the rest of the town to friends' and acquaintances' places. The kids made a pretty good haul.

We've come in to the tradition of carving jack-o-lanterns the day before Halloween. I enjoy that task - trying to make what the kids draw on paper come to life on their pumpkins (as long as there aren't too many curves). This year was even more enjoyable because we grew these pumpkins ourselves in our garden from the seeds from last year's jack-o-lanterns. Gotta love saving those pumpkin seeds!

Over on the right side of the blog, I've posted a slideshow of recent/Halloween pictures. Please look through them, enjoy, and keep in touch!

Friday, September 26, 2008

On A Lighter Note . . .

This year, Rachel, our 10-year old daughter, is in 5th grade. She is especially having a great time this year, because this is the year they give students the opportunity to start learning how to play a musical instrument. We didn't even have to encourage her. She wanted to, no question. After a few weeks of mouthpiece testing with the band teacher, Rachel seems best suited for playing the french horn. Luckily, the school loaned us a french horn for her to use. So Rachel carries her french horn case to and from school most days. It's great to see her so excited. She seems to have the drive and motivation to really excel with it, like everything else in school.

This is one of those reflective moments for me. You know, when your kids get old enough and go through some similar experiences you went through when you were their age, etc. I can't help but think back to when I got my trumpet (thanks, Mom). I was in sixth grade in Prosser, Washington (Housel Middle School). That was the beginning of a very enjoyable school music "career". Carmichael Middle School and Richland High School in Richland, Washington, and lastly Mountain Crest High School in Hyrum, Utah. Concert Band, Pep Band, Marching Band, Jazz Band, School Musical Pits. Fun times, great memories.

Good luck, Rachel! Have a wonderful time! :)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Back to the Drawing Board

I was just informed today that the Weather Service position I applied for in Lincoln, Illinois has been awarded to a different applicant. We had our hearts set on this location SO MUCH, that it's difficult to not be pretty down about it. They ended up hiring from within their own office.

This sets us back at least a few months from where we thought we'd be by now in the promotion/moving process.

In the meantime, we shift our sights westward as I have applied for positions in Cheyenne, Wyoming and Spokane, Washington. Possible interviews for these locations could happen by mid October, but as we have learned the hard way: we shouldn't count our chickens before they've hatched.

Wish us luck.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Our Summer Vacation to Utah (see the photo album)

This past July we took our summer vacation to Utah to visit family and friends (including many of you who read my blog). I want to thank you all for your hospitality. It was great to see all of you again. I've set up a photo album showing our vacation over on the right side of my blog. Click on it, have a look at the pictures, comment, and keep in touch!

On the way driving back home to Kansas, the last hour was terrible! I had to resort to slapping my face and bitting my fingers to keep me awake. Now there's a crazy picture in your mind! Rachel woke up for a short time and wondered if she was having a wierd dream. Can anyone relate? The rest of the family was asleep in the car. I dared not stop and catch a nap, because the kids would wake up. I just had to drive on through.