Thursday, March 31, 2011

Who will we be?

For a moment walking out the door, I reveled in my geekdom and wondered who Hyrum will want to role play in the future and what roles he will ask of us.... Will I be Sam, Aragorn, or Gandalf to his Frodo? Han, Obi-wan, or 3P0 to his Luke? Which of the Justice League or the X-Men or Starfleet officers will we be? ... or should I be working on my rim shot instead?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Life Lessons:

The last few weeks we've been teaching Hyrum about the priesthood and priesthood keys and how he'll get the priesthood some day and good things like that. I got a small payoff from that yesterday.

You see, when Hy is not quite on our schedule, we'll start counting. We are very lucky to have a boy who responds quickly to numbers. 1 ... "Stop counting! Daddy don't count!" he cries as he runs to do our fiendish bidding. (You'd think we believed in corporeal punishment instead of asking him to sit still for 3 minutes or carrying him to the car instead of letting him walk.)

Being a three year old and the son of people who try to not make any rules they don't follow too, he decided it was his turn to start counting at Mommy. He doesn't like practicing potty or changing clothes by himself, so he calls for us to come visit. Yesterday he called from the bathroom, "Mommy! Come here! 1 2 3."

Daddy's eyes got very wide and Mommy, seeing that, realized what had just happened. She laughed, but very quietly so as not to encourage him. Daddy was less pleased and went in to have a Word.

I tried several ways of explaining the situation, but didn't seem to quite be getting through. Then I remembered the keys. "Son, you do not have the keys to discipline your mother." I also explained that God does, that He holds Mommy and Daddy accountable for how we act as parents, and that if He counts 1, 2, 3 we had better listen. That got his attention.

He understood.

He understood well enough to tell Mommy this morning that he doesn't count at us, but God does.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Our rising star

Hyrum got a second star for the first time on Disney SingIt, singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" and then "You Can Fly" and he barely missed two stars on "Time of Your Life." So it's not just me saying it, his singing skills are objectively improving.

Hyrum singing into the microphone was from six months ago, but its the same game.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

2,123 days later...

... and we still love being married. Especially me. I love being married.

Joy is
my support,
my most understanding friend,
my co-conspirator,
the amazingly wonderful mother of my son,
my sleeping pill,                              [no, seriously, I'm very thankful for this!]
my counselor,
my sunshine,
my hope,
my peace,
my joy.

Joy makes me bread and oatmeal cookies just about every week, all just for me. She always makes sure I have time for my calling and scripture study, and keeps me accountable for my home teaching. She keeps our home a safe haven. She encourages me to reach higher and helps me become the man I want to be. While she sometimes redirects me and adds counsel to my goals, she is unfailingly supportive.

Hyrum adores his mother. He may not always listen to her and he's not always very soft with her, but he loves her and wants to be her friend. Almost everything I love about my son I owe to my eternal companion. Without her patience and unending dedication, he would not be where he is today.

Joy has been keeping up with her continuing education credits to renew her certification as a counselor. Even six months pregnant, she has a strong desire to follow Pres. Kimball's advice and learn how to grow more vegetables for our family (coming soon to some food storage cans near us!). She maintains the highest standards of cleanliness in what she watches, reads, and listens to. She loves the Sabbath day and keeps it holy like nobody I know.

I had planned on writing more, but I seem to be out of time tonight. So when you read this while I'm in DC, know I love you, Friendly Friend.

Please recommend a good MP3 player

I have some of the worst luck with MP3 players so far. I got a Fuze last year and it stopped working within two weeks. I returned it and got a Fuze+. It stopped working after 3 days. A couple weeks ago I got a Coby. It skips tracks 30 seconds into the song. Now it's going back and I'm going back to the drawing board.

So can anyone recommend an MP3 player that actually works?? I don't want an Apple product. I only need something to hold a lot of music while I exercise. I would like the ability to organize my music, but that doesn't seem to be an option anywhere.

Who is this boy now?

Hyrum has added quite a cast of characters to his list of acting credits. He takes on several roles every day now, announcing rapid fire who everyone is and insisting that we call him by his new name every time we speak to him. Also new this week, he announces "I am Hyrum for a minute" when it's time to change his diaper, and then he reverts to his alternate persona when he stands up again.

We were very interested during our parent-teacher conference to learn that, though he'll talk about these people and pretending to be them, he only ever goes by Hyrum in the classroom. If he decides to playact with you, it's apparently an honor.

Some of the newer roles I didn't mention in the last post:

Hyrum -- Daddy -- Mommy -- (source)
Pablo -- Tyrone* -- Uniqua -- (Backyardigans)
Tyler -- Aubrey -- Jacey -- (kids in his class who hugged him for his birthday)
Margaret -- [her dad] -- [her mom] -- (friend at church)
Sister McCallister -- just Daddy -- Sister McCallister's Mom* -- (nursery leader)
Kermit the Frog -- TBA -- TBA -- (Muppets)
Joseph Smith Sr. -- Joseph Jr. -- Oliver Cowdery -- (church history)
Rolf -- Capt. von Trapp -- Lisl -- (Sound of Music)
Flick -- Dot -- Princess Ada -- (A Bug's Life)
Buzzz -- Tom Nook -- "the cat in the dark" -- (Animal Crossing)
Buzz Lightyear -- Rex -- Woody -- (Toy Story)

He's also doing more announcing who he will be on a certain day or under particular conditions:

"If Mommy wakes me up, I will be Kermit the Frog."
What if I wake you up?
"I'm Buzzz and you're Tom Nook."

His birthday card was signed by all of us!

*Incidentally, I had to fight to get the Tryone role. He was casting me as Uniqua and Mommy as Tyrone. It took part of my cunning and all of my persistence to convince him to switch us. I get enough female roles as is. I was a touch concerned when he wanted me to be Mary Poppins until we were watching it together. We saw "Feed the Birds" and then "Let's go Fly a Kite." During the latter song, Mary looks out the window as the children go skipping off, her face full of love and longing. It was at that moment that he happily pointed and called out "That's you, Daddy!" ... Okay, I'll be your Mary Poppins.

*Also incidentally, he's never met Sister McCallister's Mom, but he assumes she must have one. Further incidentally, he has a really hard time saying Flick's name properly, so if you overheard him, no, he's not cursing at us.

Good eats

Once upon a time, I longed to know what it was that made some foods palatable for my son while all others were terrible. I looked forward to a time when he would have the language skills to tell me what was important to him.

Well, Moses is finally down from Sinai with the Word of the Hyrum: "Is it warm? Is it soft?"

Those are the two questions he asks us as we try to ply him with new foods. Are they warm and are they soft? The other day he even looked at Joy's food, asked if it was warm and soft, and took a bite so he could get his Hershey's chocolate square (which is replacing sugar cookies).

The thing is, that can't be all of it. We've introduced him to a lot of foods now that are warm and soft, but he doesn't eat most of them without some pressuring or wheedling. Peaches and yogurt are cold, not warm. Chocolate is not soft and chunky peanut butter isn't either. So this isn't a complete explanation.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Technology and Toddlers

This ... is a phone. This has been the international symbol for "phone," "call me," and teaching your children proper telephone etiquette for generations. It makes good sense. You've got an ear piece and a mouth piece and you teach your kids not to confuse the two. Would you stick your pinky in your ear and talk to your thumb? Of course not!

This is a phone.

"Nyuh-uh, Daddy. This is a phone. Phones are flat. You play games on them. Hold your hand like this and talk into your palm. Why would you talk into your fingers anyway?"

Well, you've got the basic idea anyway. Thanks for calling, son.

Translation: Hyrum talked to the hand for the first time this week. His first call was to his daddy. :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Proud of my son

"Daddy, what's that?"
That's a map of the United States of America.
"and to the Republic for which it stands..."

with a good deal of garbling, he got through the entire pledge. Go, Hyrum! Go public school system that recites the pledge first thing every morning!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Happy Happy Birthday

Hyrum is now as old as everyone thinks he is: 3.

"He's very happy to be three," Joy agrees. "He already updated the song from 'I am two going on three' to 'I am three going on four' without prompting. He did suggest today that he was four, just to see what reaction he would get. No no, you're not 4."

The plan was for me to return from Nebraska Thursday night, wake him up Friday, and take him to school. I would get home from work early so we could have birthday fun. Then La Guardia airport got inundated with rain, flights were arriving two hours late, and I was cordially invited to have a sleepover. The hardest part of it was knowing I would miss Hyrum's wake up call.

"Speaking of wake up call, I go into his room singing Happy Birthday. And throughout the whole song he's saying 'Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!' Nonplussed, I keep singing. I made my explanations after the song was over. I told him that Daddy was supposed to be here cause his plane was going to come in the night before but that his plane got stuck. So now there was a New Plan! And I told him we would pick Daddy up right after school. Somehow he seemed to be happy about having a new plan and that Daddy still wasn't going to miss his birthday."

His fellow classmates celebrated with Joy's cupcakes, gave Hyrum a few cards, and some even gave him hugs. This was very exciting for him. He is making friends who he comes home to talk about.

"They've tried to give him hugs before, but I think because he was seeking for attention for his birthday he was more accepting of the attention, and more thrilled by it."

Once they picked me up, we went to a park, at his spur of the moment request. The park is surrounded by feet of snow. I managed to get his snow pants on over his boots in the car and we trudged over to the slide and jungle gym. He was very happy traipsing around on it with me. Then we finished going home to have lunch and put him down for a nap. Cruel parents.

Hyrum's Top Ten - Feb/Mar

Can you notice the most common theme?

1 - Maria's Wedding Processional (Sound of Music) - 66
2 - Super Mario Theme - 48
3 - How do you solve a problem like Maria - 29
4 - Sixteen Going on Seventeen - 27
5 - Bob the Builder - 26
6 - High on the Mountain Top - 24
7 - A-Hunting we will go - 21
     Brave Boy, Jump Up
      A Bug's Life Suite
10 - WALL-E "Define Dancing" - 20

And, surprise and shock, Tarantara is not only not on the top ten, it's only barely on the top 20.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Splashing around a bit

In one of my favorite comic strip punchlines, grandpa says defensively "I don't wallow in self-pity... I just stick my feet in and splash around a bit."

A friend commented on FB that he wants to fly. I agree. I want to fly. I want to finish flying home and be there when my son wakes up and it's his birthday. I don't much want to be alternating between sitting on the radiator or the floor of the La Guardia ticketing terminal waiting for the next flight after the rain canceled so many flights tonight. I want to be home like I promised I would be.

Instead, I'll get the pleasure of reenacting my triumphal return from Denver in January when Hyrum came to pick me up from the airport and I got to watch his face erupt into uncontrollable joy to see his friend Luigi home. It will have to do.

Happy birthday, son. I'll be home soon.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

LDS Symposium on the Bible

An annual religious symposium at Brigham Young University focused on the reverence Mormons show for the Bible, and the King James Version (KJV) in particular which turns 400 this year. Three of the talks referenced by the Church News stood out to me.

Prof/Brother/Mr. Millet discussed the issue of errors in transmission of the Bible:
"The question is not whether there have been scribal errors through the centuries; there have been," he said. "The question is not whether the Bible is the word of God; it is. The question is not whether the Bible can be relied upon with confidence if, in fact, there have been errors in the text; it can."
He said, "We do not believe the Bible must be translated perfectly to be spiritually normative and eternally valuable. ... For that matter, while we accept the Book of Mormon [and other LDS cannon] as holy scripture, we would not rush to proclaim their inerrancy. The marvel is the greater that an infinite and perfect God can work through finite and imperfect humans to deliver His word to His children."...
"Clearly, many factors impacted the prophetic message: personality, experience, vocabulary, literary talent," Brother Millet remarked. "The word of the Lord as spoken through Isaiah is quite different from the word of the Lord as spoken through Luke, and both are different from that written by Jeremiah or Mark. ... The LDS concern with the ancients is not the perfection with which such messages were recorded, but with the inspiration behind the message. ...
"In other words, knowing that God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and the fact that He spoke to them at all, however well or poorly it may have been recorded, attests that He can speak to men and women in the here and now. After all, the Bible is only black ink on white paper until the Spirit of God illuminates its true meaning to us."
 Prof/Bro/Mr Belnap discusses the use of King James language and prose in the Book of Mormon. Other cultures and languages do not use the KJV but because the Book of Mormon was written using KJV cadence, syntax, vocabulary, and often quotations (though several witnesses attest Joseph Smith never had a copy of the Bible with him while translating) the language of the KJV becomes the Church standard throughout the world. He also talked about Nephi's vision of the Bible in America and the probability that it was the KJV specifically to which he referred. The article closes with his suggestion that one reason the KJV was popular with the colonists was that, unlike the Geneva Bible that preceded it, it did not contain numerous annotations telling people what they were supposed to think about each verse, leaving them free to independent study and prayer.

Prof/Bro/Mr Tanner provides evidence that the KJV was written specifically in order to sound authoritative and scriptural, to have an ancient veneer about it, and was translated in part with its aural qualities in mind. The KJV was deliberately assigned to become the official church Bible of the time, to be read from the pulpit and give added authority to the preacher. While he points this out as a contrast with the Tyndale Bible which was intended for personal study, the KJV translators retained such enormous portions of the Tyndale translation (~90%) that it would be easy to overstate the contrast.

Things Hyrum Thinks About

Hyrum prefers Toy Story 2 to Toy Story 3. The reason? "The kids are mean to the toys. In Toy Story 2, they aren't." Thanks to an early birthday present, he is discovering Toy Story 1 "how they meet."

"Now talk about the Buzz mission." The intro to Toy Story 2 is very much his favorite part.


One of Hyrum's favorite books at school is about a mouse named Murray who wants to make a perfect soup. To get the ingredients, he runs around doing favors for people in a barter system economy. "Murray is in a hurry" is the catch phrase. Hy announced on Wednesday that today he would be Murray. On Friday, he asked when it was Sunday so he could be Murray. I came in his room today and asked him what day it was. He exulted: "Sunday!!! That means I am Murray!"


Last week Hyrum discovered Animal Crossing. His character in the game is named Buzzz. He specified to us every day that he was "Buzzz from Animal Crossing" as opposed to Buzz from Toy Story. I get to play Tom Nook the raccoon storekeeper whose voice I do as an Indian accent. The number one thing he talks about, though, is that fact that the opening screen is "Dark" and has "a cat." "And then the light goes on and you walk until you stop. You go in the house and tell .... and you go in the store and work for Tom Nook."

"Marioparty has a question mark!" he interjects from the dinner table.

When Mommy reminded him that he doesn't work for Nook forever, I told her he and I had finished Nook's chores. Hyrum then explained, "You walk out of the store and you win!" Buzzz punched the air to celebrate paying off the downpayment on his house. "And then we save."


Last Sunday Hyrum decided to be his friend Margaret. This was very funny because I home teach Margaret's family. So we all went over to Margaret's with our Margaret. She sat in my lap and he sat in her dad's lap and was overly affectionate. When we got home, I got to be Margaret's daddy and Joy was Margaret's mommy. We have spent this week trying to convince him that most people only get handshakes and hugs. So I ask permission to stop being Nook so Daddy can give him a kiss. The odd side effect is that he has wandered to me and asked to shake my hand. He is very looking forward to playing with Margaret this week for his birthday.


"Mommy, what's my name?"
What is your name?
"I'm Murray."


Hyrum would also like me to blog about his time outs and being sent to his room. I'll pass. He's a good kid.

* Joy's disclaimers: We have decided it would be best this year to have only one person over for Hyrum's birthday. So if you know us and you were invited last year, we're sorry. We asked Hyrum to choose only one person, and since Margaret is very popular right now, he chose her. We love you and wish we could have more people over.