Saturday, December 27, 2008

Let It Snow?



One of the biggest selling songs of all time is Bing Crosby's version of "White Christmas." I was dreaming of a white Christmas for Ethan because this is truly his first real year of excitement about the entire Santa experience. He's had a ball in the snow, and we went sledding with one of his little buddies at the Boise Train Depot on Christmas Eve. And, we did have a white Christmas day. In fact, we had about a week of it beforehand. I ended up dashing my folks from Boise to Twin Falls on Christmas afternoon due to concerns their shuttle the next day wouldn't run because of the weather. The roads were...well...OK in most respects. But, now Christmas is over, and my enthusiasm for a White Christmas has diminished with the continuing snowfall. It's probably snowed about 6 inches today, and we're having trouble keeping up with shoveling the drive-way. Not to mention, most of our neighbors are gone for the holidays meaning the cul-de-sac is deserted, and we're trying to be good neighbors by shoveling their walks as well if only to make the neighborhood seem occupied. So...I'm now dreaming of about a 45 degree New Years!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas 2008





Last night, we went to my brother Dirk's house for Christmas eve for a fun evening. Ethan had fun with his uncles and playing with the new train Aunt Cheryl has circling one of her Christmas trees. Grandma Faye was in her element with her granddaughter Ashley who was sharing her first Christmas with her 8 month old son Paul.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The rest of the Northwest Story

As noted in my most recent post, my trip on Northwest Airlines to and from Washington DC was worthy of a Steve Martin/John Candy "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" rehash.

At one point, I was reminded of an old Carol Burnett Show skit in which First Class Passengers (in Northwest Airline's case, First Class coupled with all of their special club members who seem to account for about 50% of the pre-boarders) were treated like gold while hapless regular folks (in the skit's case, it was Tim Conway) were berated and subjected to humiliation. Here's how I felt on Northwest at least going to DC from Boise: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCz8he36hsk

On one leg of a flight going to DC, the flight attendant actually smiled at us from First Class as she loudly unhooked the Velcro straps and connected them across the aisle essentially blocking us from partaking in First Class amenities. In my head, I pictured her on Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom eating her young. Anyway....

One other item of note from my sojourn in the Northwest terminal in DC that I forgot to mention was the poor woman rushing to make her gate when she slipped on a wet floor that was just mopped by a custodian. The poor woman fell hard, had her luggage fall all over, and dropped her coffee. The custodian simply watched her and didn't offer to help. Other passengers assisted her to her feet and collected her belongings. Customer service.

Back to Minneapolis...we did eventually board about an hour late and were de-iced on the runway (evidently Northwest is prepared for weather in Minneapolis unlike in Boise). We happened to have the same flight attendants from our DC leg, and they were just great. In fact, those flight attendants went out of their way to help -- and apologize.

We landed in Boise very late, and I finally got to bed about 3:00 am.

So...lessons about flying Northwest?

1. Last resort;
2. Saving 50 bucks on airfare should be weighed against the cost of food and beverages you consume on unexpected three hour layovers.
3. Northwest personnel with the exception of the return flight crew were indifferent.
4. Northwest has never considered an effective boarding process.
5. The only good thing I can say is they serve Pepsi products!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Northwest Airlines or North "Worst" Airlines

I've traveled back and forth to Washington DC countless times over the past 25 years, but my recent trip -- which isn't completed yet as I sit delayed in the Minneapolis airport -- was my first (and last) trip using Northwest Airlines. The trip started out wrong on Sunday, December 14th when we were delayed leaving Boise by over an hour and a half.

Why?

Well, the flight was the first of the morning meaning the plane needed to be de-iced due to an overnight storm that lightly blanketed Boise with our first real snow of the year. Northwest -- despite the implications of the company name which suggests an understanding of winter weather in the winter -- ran out of de-icer and had to borrow some from another airline. The resulting delay caused me to miss my connecting flight in Minneapolis causing me to miss a business dinner that evening which was a major reason for the trip.

In addition, having flown primarily on Southwest (where customer service is paramount) and United (which at least seems cognizant of reasonable boarding procedures) both of which have orderly and logical boarding down to a science, I was stunned to participate in my first Northwest Airline boarding process which essentially meant special fliers (participants in a myriad of feel-good and great sounding clubs) got to board first and then, I kid you not, the announcement immediately after special boarding that "we are boarding all rows" caused a stampede. The boarding was chaotic with no thought about the logic of boarding from the rear of the plane first. If we were late before, we were later then.

Fast forward two days for my return. The Northwest Terminal at Reagan National Airport should be a clue because it hasn't been upgraded since Ronald Reagan starred in the "GE Theater." I languished in the 1950's era terminal for a while, and was a bit optimistic that the poor boarding process I experienced on the original flights wasn't common. The gate agent after announcing the incomprehensible list of special privileged boarders, did indicate the rest of us riff-raff would board by row. Of course, because so many people had already boarded in a hap hazard manner, the wait to get seated was about 15 minutes due to people spread throughout the plane and aisles with little organization. With frustrated passengers still coming aboard, the airline actually announced the plane was ready to depart. Better boarding procedures would have helped.

Late leaving DC as a result of Northwest's incomprehensible boarding process, we arrived in Minneapolis a bit late as well but at least in time to make my connection. I shouldn't have worried about missing my connection, because, you guessed it, Northwest was late again.

The board showed an on-time departure for quite a while. Ultimately, as the boarding time approached, a nonchalant Northwest Gate agent strolled to the podium carrying a Subway sandwich. The time was changed on the board, but he gave no reason. In fact, he sat down, munched on his sandwich, read USA Today, and sighed as he reluctantly approached the podium to answer a customer question. Immediately after that he sat down again, and spent nearly 15 minutes on his cell phone while customers approached the podium, started at him expectently, and finally walked away.

He finally made an announcement that the flight would be delayed because a pilot was delayed and would be arriving in time for a departure 25 minutes later than originally scheduled.Then the agent, left the podium, walked across the concourse, sat in a secluded area, and finished his sandwich as people stood in line at his podium.

Several minutes later -- about 10 minutes ago as I type this -- he announced the delay would be longer because the pilot wasn't just delayed. The pilot wasn't going to make it, and evidently alternative pilots were coming.

And so I sit in Minneapolis at a Northwest gate with nothing but a WiFi connection, a laptop, my frustration, and my blog to keep me company.

We will see, and I will update this blog post with the final chapter.

As it is, I guarantee my first Northwest Airlines experience was one of my worst flying experiences, and it will be my last Northwest experience.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Growing up fast


I've been a bit under the weather lately and went to bed early last night. Ethan showed real concern and assured me he was going to take care of me. For a couple of hours, he would come in and out of the bedroom asking loudly "Are you OK Daddy? Need anything? I'm taking care of you!" He brought me two cups of ice water, and his mom told me he did it all by himself by dragging a stool to the cupboard, getting glasses, and filling them with ice and water. Later, he decided he needed to make me a "recipe" which means he gets out a Pyrex mixing bowl and virtually everything you can think of from the cupboard including spices, oil, etc. His concoction is a sickening menu of goop, but he was proud of it because he thought it would make me feel better. When I thanked him and asked if he wanted to be a chef when he grows up, he answered excitedly, "Yeah, when I'm bigger I'm gonna be a rock star and a cooker!" He danced off singing "Separate Ways" by Journey. I felt a little better.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Timeless Friends and Memories

Heather and I just returned from Reno, Nevada for the Boise State-Nevada Reno football game. The weather was great though the game was heart-wrenching for a time when I was convinced my alma mater would blow it giving the Wolf Pack much to "howl" about. It's a trek I've been making since I was in college too many years ago. Friends made in college over 20 years ago congregate at the game, and we have too much fun! Ironically, this long friendship was started in the stands at a BSU game when we happened to run into each other. We've been friends ever since. Some things have changed through the years: We now all fly there rather than drive. We compare health problems, losses in retirement funds, expanding waistlines, and diminished expectations about loving our jobs rather than thinking we were going to change the world. An added bonus to the trip is being able to see my brother Dan and his wife Kay who live in Reno. All those years ago when we were in college, my friends and I often took advantage of Dan and Kay's hospitality, and it was great for everyone to see each other again. We'll be there again in two years!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Whiskers


This morning, Ethan called me at work to excitedly tell me that he has whiskers.

He exclaimed “Daddy! Daddy! Know what! I’ve got whiskers! Two! On each side! They’re small but I can see them! “

I replied “Wow! That’s cool! You’re getting to be such a big boy! Do you need to start shaving?”

He nonchalantly replied, “Yeah. I’m growing up.”

He’s only 3.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"Bad Words"

We have rules in our house about "bad words" which include "stupid, butt, hate, hell" and a couple others I'm probably forgetting. At a recent parent/teacher conference, we mentioned Ethan has used some of these recently -- almost testing us it seems -- and his teacher noted there is a boy in class who uses them routinely. Ethan sometimes asks us if "God" is a bad word which is a tough one. He asked "Is Oh My God bad, Daddy?" I said, "Yes, but you can talk about God." Tough to get a little boy to understand the distinctions and nuances of words. It's tough when a boy in school uses bad words. It's tough when we sit down to watch "It's a Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" only to realize every other word it seems in our treasured childhood program is "stupid." But, at least we have avoided the dreaded "s" word and the even worse "f" word. Until Disney On Ice....Returning home with our neighbors, Ethan dropped a toy and said loudly "Oh S__t!" which just about caused me to drive off the road. So, we are now going down that road. The road well traveled I fear.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Votes Are In!

In 1980, I was able to cast my first vote, and I continue to be proud that I voted for Ronald Reagan. The 1980 election was a watershed that changed history as Reagan's optimism and pride in the United States stood in stark contrast to the embarrassment that was Jimmy Carter with his "malaise" coupled with ineffective foreign policy. Carter's years in office, to me at the time and even now with the filter of years of experience and maturity, were simply awful. Our economy was in a tail spin, our respect throughout the world was dismal, and I cringed whenever Carter spoke because I considered him inept at best. So, my generation's first vote felt special because we changed the course of history.

Now, 28 years later, a new generation with the same passion for "change" has rejected the GOP based on many of the same concerns that led me to the voting booth 28 years ago: The economy, fears about the future, concern about world politics, etc. Though I have concerns with some of President-Elect Obama's policy recommendations, I have to respect that the voters have selected him based on motives as sincere as mine were. I plan to heed McCain and Obama's call for unity because that is the fundamental ideal of our political system.

From a personal perspective, I awoke this morning to find that I had received 141,109 votes in my uncontested race for Seat 4 on the Board of Trustees of the College of Western Idaho. 141,109 people! Most legislators in Idaho -- even popular ones -- received less than 40,000 votes. It was odd to see my name on the ballot, and seems surreal to know that many people voted for me. Of course, I will second guess the 1,400 plus write-ins against me (though some friends indicate they wrote in my wife who admittedly is much smarter than I am). I suppose it's the proverbial "why didn't they like" me lament!

On the CWI Board, I will join two incumbent friends (Guy Hurlbutt and MC Niland) in welcoming our two new members Tammy Ray and Stan Bastian.

Canyon » 39627 Ada » 101482 Total » 141109

Friday, October 31, 2008

Lessons From Vacation


We returned safely on Tuesday from our family vacation in San Diego after having a wonderful time. I took away several lessons from the trip:
1. It is great to go to major amusement parks during the off season. We rarely stood in line.
2. Legoland was Ethan's favorite because, though he loved the San Diego Zoo and Sea World, Legoland is built for kids his age right down to the urinals!
3. Legoland does not serve beer while Seaworld and the Zoo do. It would be fun to contemplate whether or not Legoland's low urinals for kids and the lack of beer are related, but I digress.
4. Even though I'm an experienced traveler and negotiating traffic has never been a problem for me (not to mention, having the Pacific Ocean on the left -West - and mountains on the right -East -made directions easy), my last minute decision to pony up 9 bucks a day for a dashboard navigation system in the rental car was well worth it.
5. We would plan one day of down time for the pool or the beach rather than packing in three major amusement parks in three days. Ethan and Heather were troopers, but....still....it was a lot to ask especially for a 3.5 year old whose legs, while reaching the magic 42" marker for many rides (unless they made him remove his baseball cap of course), make keeping up with grown ups kind of tough.
6. At the end of the day -- or three days in this case -- Ethan may have enjoyed playing in a sandbox as much as anything else he experienced.
And so it goes.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sea World!


Today, we spent the entire day at Sea World after Ethan woke up unusually early (about 6:45 am!). By the time we left later in the day, he'd been awake almost 12 hours which is a record for him. We saw multiple animals, he got to hold a starfish (but refused to pet a stingray because it was slimy), and ended up at the end of the day playing in a large sandbox with dump trucks and bulldozers. Yes, we travel over 1,000 miles, get to see whales and seals and dolphins, and he ends his Sea World experience much like he spends a day in Boise: Playing with construction equipment! He had fun at the whale show but was disappointed we didn't get splashed. Mom and Dad weren't! Off to Lego Land tomorrow!

Lions, Tigers, and Bears! Oh My!


We are having our first real family vacation this weekend in San Diego, and we spent hours yesterday at the famous San Diego Zoo racing from one animal to another with Ethan exclaiming "Wow!" at almost every one. He said he enjoyed the penguins (we didn't see any...), and the pandas were kinda boring. He really did enjoy the bears, the bus ride, the sky car ride, and the reptiles. We're off to Sea World today!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Getting Older

My brother Dan turns 58 today, and my brother Steve turned 56 yesterday. How did that happen? I still think of the four of us as the young "Dunham Brothers" who could conquer the world. In some respects, the years have been kind. We are all relatively healthy, happy, and successful. There have been disappointments through the years, and the loss of our father too early continues to be painful 15 years after he died. But, it's been a good life for all of us. When I look at us now, I still see us when we were young. The graying hair (and in my case, the thinning graying hair), the wrinkles, etc. aren't really visible to me. But, calling my brothers to say "happy birthday" and realizing they are in their late 50's seems unbelievable to me.

I'm Running For Public Office!


I never aspired to public office. Having been a professional lobbyist and Political Action Committee "guy" since 1984, the prospect of being on the other side of the table should send shudders down my spine. However, here I am as a candidate for elective office in an election to be held November 4, 2008...a date most pundits suggest is the "most important election of our time" though its importance has nothing to do with me frankly. I am grateful to be unopposed in my election to serve a four-year term on the Board of Trustees of the relatively new College of Western Idaho.
I am often amazed at the naivete and/or ignorance of voters in general, and I have frankly been even more incredulous that many people I know don't realize that:
1. There IS a college in the Treasure Valley, and
2. that Trustees have to run for election.
In Idaho, a state with about 1.3 million people, the most challenging elections from a "numbers game" would be a statewide race or a congressional district. Next to one of those, running for the CWI Board encompasses the largest potential block of voters in Idaho! The two most populous counties (Ada and Canyon) with a combined population of perhaps 600,000 people votes at large in this election. What can the Trustees do? Make a considerable difference in the future of the valley through education, work force training, and economic development which seem especially critical at this juncture when the economy may be faltering. Cynically, some suggest our major role is to impose property taxes on the public which is an unfortunately short-sighted view.
I am also disappointed in the media for the most part for missing the importance of this election. The Idaho Press Tribune is an admirable exception to this because they have covered the races in Board elections carefully, interviewed candidates, hosted candidate forums, posted information on their website. The rest of the media has been indifferent at best. If you are interested in this election and want to learn more about the candidates for the Board of Trustees, you should visit the Idaho Press Tribune at: http://www.idahopress.com/elections/
I'm actually enjoying part of the process which is talking to people about the college. But, I have it easy....I'm unopposed!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

You're a big boy Daddy!


The other day, Heather took Ethan to get a flu shot. I've tried to make all of his doctor appointments especially those when a shot is given. I will never forget the look of shock and betrayal on his face (right before the screams erupted) during the awful series of immunizations early in his life. One of those visits was complicated when the "nurse" cut his toe with the needle resulting in two bandages and a continuing distrust of that woman. I wasn't able to go the other day, however, and Heather reports Ethan was brave. Whenever he falls or somehow hurts himself, he instantly tells me "I'm OK Daddy." He did the same when I got home that night though he told me his leg hurt a bit as he showed me his Scooby Doo bandage. Heather reports that he ran around for a couple hours that afternoon but sometimes limped -- mainly when she asked how his leg was. Feeling bad about missing out on being there to support him as he got this shot, I told Ethan I would be getting a flu shot myself soon. I asked him if he would go with me and hold my hand to make me feel better. He looked at me with wide green eyes, and said, "You're a big boy Daddy! You shouldn't cry."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Shoshone Falls


Over 40 years ago, I visited Shoshone Falls outside my home town, Twin Falls, Idaho with my mom and my grandmother. I have a vivid memory of my mother slowly and nervously driving up the narrow steep grade that lacked a guard rail. Standing on the front seat between her and my grandmother (no car seat requirements in 1964!), I said "Uh Oh! I think we're having an accident!" My grandmother recounted that visit and comment for years afterward. Now, all these years later I took my son and my mother back down that same grade which hasn't improved much. Nor has Mom's attitude which was white-knuckled and characterized by small gasps of fear. Somethings never change. Shoshone Falls is still breath taking, and my mom still hates going there. Ethan loved it!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Torch Is Passing....


The other night, friends had a small party -- a going away to Mexico party for themselves! -- and they invited the "old gang" which includes two of us who had kids about three and four years ago. Ethan Dunham and AJ LaBeau spent some time in a hot tub that night despite the chilly evening, and it was hard not to reflect on the years their parents spent in that same hot tub at other parties, listening to "70's Saturday Night," drinking too many beers, laughing, and not thinking about getting older. Nice the torch is passing to a new generation in that same hot tub.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

"You Need A Nap!"

The other day, Heather wouldn't let Ethan do something which made him "angry" as he put it. He turned to her and exclaimed in his angry little voice "Mommy! You need a nap!"

Friday, September 5, 2008

"See you in 18 years"


I've been attending the Idaho Governor's Cup in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho the past two days, and I'm flying home early because my 3.5 year old son starts soccer for the very first time tomorrow morning. I don't want to miss it. As I checked out of the hotel early this morning, many people expressed surprise, but Governor Otter said, "Good for you! You've got your priorities straight." I couldn't help but think of his comment when some friends with a toddler son waved goodbye in the hotel lobby saying "Here you go. Soccer is taking over. See you in 18 years." I've had several friends express disdain for even exposing their toddlers to soccer due to the parents' concern about their own schedule. I understand that feeling, and the prospect of chilly Autumn mornings watching a group of toddlers chase a ball is not my idea of fun. On the other hand, I want to give my boy every opportunity to develop a wide group of interests and opportunities. When my father was dying of cancer years ago -- long before I thought of having a child -- he gave me some good advice: "I spent so many years working too many hours because I thought that's what you did to provide for your family. But now I realize that by working too much for my family, I almost lost my family. Don't make that mistake." So, all these years later as I sit in an airport waiting to fly home to my family, I can't help but echo the Governor about my priorities. So...see you in 18 years! I'll be a better person for it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fires!


"There but the grace of God" seems oddly appropriate in the aftermath of the devastating fire that raged through SE Boise the other day because 3417 was my home from 1989 through April of 1994. It burned to the ground and a young family expecting their first child lost everything they owned. I'm not sure why this has affected me so deeply. Perhaps because I lived there when my dad died, and the house had so many memories of him for me. Perhaps because it was a happy time in my life (other than Dad of course!) and I had many parties there. Perhaps because it makes you contemplate the "what if's." Sad, sad, sad.....

Sunday, August 24, 2008

First Day of School Germs


Last week week, Ethan started his second year of pre-school at the Boise State Univesity Children's Center. He's in Miss Reba's class, and he's enjoyed it so far. He starts soccer the first Saturday of September, and he's going to start a gymnastics class as well. We were reminded that school started because after two days in class, Ethan got sick and spent the weekend sleeping and getting sick. School = Germs!

Lizards!

Heather found a tiny lizard on the back door screen the other day, and Ethan enjoyed taking care of him for a couple of days before we let him go in the backyard.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Out of the mouths....


The old adage about "out of the mouths of babes" seems appropriate with the latest Ethan comments:
1. When declining to do something his mom said, Ethan responded "That would be a negative Ghost Rider."
2. Upon opening a new board game, Ethan excitedly asked his mom to "Read the erections Mommy!"
3. With the advent of a new school year in a few weeks, we've been trying to get Ethan prepared, but he's not excited. Heather told him he was very lucky to only be going three days a week because one of his friends goes everyday due to the parents both working full time. Ethan responded, "Well, you don't work, so why do I have to go?"

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Visit

As noted in a previous post, Ethan is a bit lost now that his best
buddies moved away; however, the other day, Heather babysat the kids, and Ethan had a blast. When I asked him what he did, he exclaimed "We played, and played, and played Daddy!!" Not a bad way to spend the day when you're a kid.

Who Will I Play With?


We didn't have Ethan go to school this summer because his friends in the neighborhood had the summer off. Unfortunately, over July 4th, his best buddy moved away (along with his buddy's sister who is the root of all evil according to the boys), and Ethan is now a bit lost. The new boy who moved into the neighboring house isn't friendly, and our neighbor girl down the street is busy with a visiting grandmother for the summer. So, Ethan has grown bored easily. He asked his mom the other day "Who will I play with?"

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Grandma

My only niece on my side of the family turns 30 today. Where did those years go? I remember what I ate the night before she was born. I remember that entire day vividly. Now, I have a son, and my niece just had a son of her own. Before he died, my father told me that his biggest regret was not living to see my children. Now, almost 15 years after his death, he has a grandson and a great grandson he will never see.

My mother now has two grandchildren (a 30 year old and a 3 year old....talk about pent-up Grandma demand!), and she has yet to meet her new great grandson because it's tough for her to get to Boise for many reasons. I've talked to friends about the sadness of watching their once-vibrant parents age, and my mother and my beloved step-father are growing older and more frail. My friends and I spend a lot of time helping our parents deal with the complexities of age and the resulting fears that seem rather insignificant to us but can overwhelm the elderly.

My mom and step-father live only two hours away, but the time and the miles seem much more daunting now that their lives are afflicted by the ravages of age such as macular degeneration, hearing loss, and an aching loneliness resulting from a big house and no visitors. We try to go there as much as possible because it's not fair to always expect them to drive to Boise to visit us. We are basically their only visitors which is sad. I'm committed to them being part of Ethan's life because the thread of life between generations is so important, and his grandparents will be gone before we know it.

Too often in life we say we're too busy to pause, visit, and respect our past which is our parents and grandparents. So, as my niece suddenly has left her own crib for that of her son in what seems to be a blink of my eye but is really a 30 year journey of her own, I also reflect on my mother through the years who has wanted nothing more than to love and be loved by her family.

Someday, when she's gone and all we have is memories, her love will be a lasting legacy I will pass on to Ethan. And that is what family is all about in the end.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bungee Video

Here's a video clip of Ethan enjoying himself in Squaw Valley, California. Don't tell Grandma about this one!

Bungee!


We're attending a meeting at the Squaw Creek Resort near Squaw Valley in California, and while Mark's in meetings, Heather and Ethan enjoyed the kids' activities including a kind of bungee jumper which he loved!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Chair Lift


At the Tamarack Mountain Resort, they opened up the chairlift for a couple of hours for conference goers, and we took Ethan on his first ride not knowing if the heights would scare him. He did get upset...because we wouldn't let him go over and over and over! Skiing is in his future!

"Sure is a beautiful day Daddy!"

We're attending a conference at an Idaho mountain resort, and I had a couple free hours one afternoon to spend with Heather and Ethan. Sometimes when Ethan and I are alone, he will say "Sure is a beautiful day Daddy!" Last night I read a blog posting of a friend who has a child graduating from high school, and she reprinted an old poem called "Hold Fast the Summer" by Mary W. Abel. I read it having just spent a glorious day with my 3 year old son who continues to be excited about his emerging world. As I read the poem, I couldn't help but think "Sure is a beautiful day, Ethan." Here's the poem:

"Hold fast the summer. It is the beauty of the day and all it contains.The laughter and work and finally the sleep. The quiet.Oh September, do not put your weight upon my mind.For I know he will be going. This son of mine who is now a man -- he must go.Time will lace my thoughts with joyous years. The walls will echo his 'Hello.'His caring will be around each corner.His tears will be tucked into our memory book.Life calls him beyond our reach -- to different walls.New faces, shiny halls, shy smiles, many places.Greater learning -- he must go.But wait, before he leaves, be sure he knows you love him.Hide the lump in your throat as you hug him.He will soon be home again -- but he will be different.The little boy will have disappeared.How I wished I could take September and shake it, for it came too soon.I must look to the beauty of each new day, and silently give thanks."

I miss him already.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Daddy's Boy

Though Ethan is expressing his individuality and independence -- often proclaiming "I can do it myself" or "I need my privacy" or "I want to ride down the street alone," there are times when he is a daddy's boy and wants nothing more than to curl up in my lap. There's really nothing better than that, and I know the years will rush by. I'm enjoying these special moments as I can.

Friday, June 13, 2008

"Atlas Shrugged" in Sandpoint


Kirk Sullivan was defeated in his bid to retain his seat as GOP State Chairman at the party convention, and Atlas Shrugged. So, Who Is John Galt anyway?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Garage Sale: The Results Are In!




We had our garage sale last Saturday, and today we can get two cars in the garage for the first time in over one year. We got rid of a lot of stuff which was great considering we had friends and family contribute to the "product" that we were selling. We had a pretty steady stream of people throughout the day, and we were all glad to see the big stuff sell so we didn't have to move it again. We took a couple pick-up loads to the Idaho Youth Ranch after all was said and done.


We were very proud of Ethan who gamely watched many of his old toys groped and sold. We kept telling him he would get a scooter if he made enough money on the sale. He cleared about 70 bucks (OK, we didn't charge him overhead such as a percentage of the ad and the tables we rented, but 3 years olds don't grasp fractions or math very well), so next Monday, he will take delivery of his new scooter that coincidentally for boys only comes in Boise State University Blue and Orange. Fate had a hand in the sale evidently.

Bad Parenting

This morning as I was leaving a Jackson's Food Store with my morning beverage, a car pulled in beside me. There were two small kids in the backseat, and I immediately noticed one of them looked young and/or small enough to be in a booster seat as required by Idaho law. I also noticed that the windows in the car were tightly shut, and the two adults (sic...) in the front seat were both smoking. The male unit of what seemed to be a parental couple dashed inside and emerged with two packs of cigarettes and quickly lit another as he got into the car. I happened to catch the eye of the younger child, and he looked miserable. Who knows what goes on behind closed doors. Maybe those adults are great parents. Maybe those kids are very happy. But, behind the closed doors of that car with windows dingy from cigarette smoke, that poor little kid looked at me from behind clouds of second hand smoke, and he looked miserable and sad. And so was I.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Pink Scooters and Garage Sales


How do you convince a 3 year old to sell some of his possessions at a garage sale? Our annual garage sale is Saturday, and, as we sort through forgotten boxes, nooks, and crannies, Ethan finds some dusty old baby toy and exclaims with glee that "I like that! We can't sell that!" We're slowly getting his agreement to sell some of his old stuff so he can get new stuff. Case in point is the pink scooter in this picture. It's a VERY COOL "Micro-Scooter," but is is pink. That's because it belongs to neighbor Amelia. Ethan loves it, and rides it everywhere even doing some impressive tricks. I showed him that there is a male version (in Boise State blue and orange no less), and told him we might get him one if we sell enough stuff. He is now processing his own three year old cost-benefit analysis because he wants a "BSU Scooter" and a new "fort bed" with a slide. We'll see.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Captain Kirk For President

I'm already getting tired of presidential politics, but I might vote for Captain Kirk of the USS Enterprise! Check out this video by clicking the arrow.

Summertime is here!


Summertime on our street for the past two seasons means the "Gator" is charged and the kids are raring to go! They speed around the culdesac at full throttle, and minor accidents are of no consequence. Ethan in particular weaves in and out of mailboxes, parked cars, and assorted other obstacles.

Gardening

Last summer, we added onto the back our house which literally ruined most of Heather's beautiful backyard. As we (OK, as Heather) spends what little free time she has planting and tending, Ethan and neighbor Elizabeth play in the loads of dirt we are literally bringing in by the truckload. We seem to need more baths this time of year....

School Carnivals


We took Ethan and our neighbor Elizabeth to a school carnival the other night. We took them the year before as well, but what a difference a year makes! Though they are too young to go to this school, they will eventually. But this year, they both participated, climbed, stood in lines patiently for 10 minutes for 1 minute of fun. They had a lot of fun! And so did Heather and I.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Out of Town


I'm out of town tonight and missing the "Dunham Family." Ethan talked to me on the phone tonight and wondered when I would be home to "change clothes" and play. He doesn't quite have a concept of time yet. Anything in the past (Labor Day at Aunt Laurie's for example) is "last night." Anything in the future is "morrow," but I'm not sure he understands it. When he asked where I am, he seemed to understand "far, far away," yet he said he would wait for me though I told him I'd be home in two days. He's only 3 years old (this picture is from his birthday party), and sometimes we forget how limited his world and experience really is. He seems so adult at times yet his unique interpretation of time and distance is a reminder that he's still learning.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Politics

I'm a long-time political junkie, and I've had the great opportunity to work for the construction and real estate industries throughout my career both in management and the political world. Tuesday, May 27th is Idaho's primary election date, and the endorsements made by my employer are already making headlines and blogs. The typical media slap-in-the-face label of "special interests" is already rearing its head. Of course, the media employ their own lobbyists in Idaho, but that doesn't stop their shameless indictment of other organizations representing thousands of Idaho citizens, businesses, and families. Oh well, I'm proud to represent the construction industry which certainly contributes more to Idaho's economy and well being than the political pundits and reporters who impughn special interests. My members interests are special, and we are proud of that.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sick


Ethan is sick right now though he doesn't want to admit it if it keeps him from the cul-de-sac and his buddies outside. He has been sniffling and sounds like a barking seal at night. It's tough to have your baby sick no matter how old.

Super Heroes

Ethan is currently enamored with super heroes. Spiderman, Batman, Superman, and "Super Friends" on "Boomerang" TV are his focus. He recently potty trained overnight when he found out he could wear super hero underwear. He has to wear them backwards, however, because he likes to see their picture which is on the "bum." But, we'll take this odd quirk if it gets rid of the diapers!

Neighbors


We've been blessed to live in a neighborhood with great friends. Ethan in particular is very close to Nick who's like his older brother. They play hard and wrestle! Nick recently babysat Ethan, and Ethan locked Nick out of the house...beating Nick to every door and locking it in front of him from the other side. Also close to Ethan are Alden, Amelia, and Elizabeth. Alden and Amelia have to move from the neighborhood in a few weeks. We're all struggling with how to explain this life loss to the kids. But the good news is Alden and Amelia will now have a swimming pool!

Ethan the farmer


Ethan visited Heather's family farm recently, and enjoyed playing on the old equipment. He spent the night at Aunt Nancy's house and was excited to show his parents the baby chickens. When Nancy's farm dog suddenly snatched a chick from out of Nancy and Ethan's hands, we quickly shielded Ethan from the harsh realities of farm life and reassured him the chick was back with his friends in the pen. He said, "Great. Where's the dead one." Out of the mouths of babes...and dogs.