Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Pumpkins '11

Here are this year's creations.  Enjoy!!
Round 1:
 Last year we did the Suns; figured it was time for the Bombers to have a shot.

 Kams experimented a little this year, took a risk, and managed to produce a pretty impressive-looking chainsaw monkey.  If you like monkeys, you should have seen his costume.

 Here is the full collection of our round one pumpkins.  Love the Uniroo on the right. Go on, do it.

Oh, and here is the Bomber pumpkin after the nuclear fallout.  Shame.

Round 2:
This time, we opted for the simpler (yet impactful) bat signal.

The Perrys made this one.

 Mama and Papa J. came through with this goofy grin.

And here is Kams' final pumpkin of the season... what a weirdo.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Dear Utah

Dear Utah, and the people therein.  These are some things y'all should know:

1) Utah is no more holy than the rest of the world, and the people in Utah are no less immoral than people in other states and countries.

2) Life outside of Utah is not scary and dark and ugly.  It's really quite nice, and people outside of Utah also tend to be really nice.

3) Jesus Christ is not a Republican.

Okay, that is all.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Some Jace

This one was from quite awhile ago.  You can tell because he's still bald.  He takes his baths in the bathroom now, instead of the kitchen.  Doesn't he just look so chill, though... he's always this relaxed (almost).

Here's a shot of his infamous Mongolian spot.  It looks like a bruise, but it's not (See it, there? On his back?).  I guess it's an Asian thing.

One more closeup of that arm...  Dang!  He must take after his dad.

He may have NBA shoulders, but he's definitely got soccer feet.... or monkey feet.  Really, who needs hands?

And then a couple of teething shots.

The boy chews on EVERYTHING!

Sing-a-ma-Thing

This past year (sorry a lot of these updates are always extremely belated) I discovered the newest, most creepy children's toy!!  Enjoy!

video
Each squeeze is a new note in their melody of life!!

video
Each color represents a different key or octave!!

video
Their mouths look like hair things from the 80's!!

video
There are just so many options!!

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They combine great with classic toys from YOUR childhood!!

video
Move over, Furby!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Halloween Heroes

Happy Halloween!!

Jace was Batman this year.  I say "this year", but we all know he will likely be Batman every year.  I am pictured with the man himself; I am, of course, Batman's biggest fan.

Beware evil-doers.


The cape.

And here were some close runners-up.  I'd say they are potential costumes for next year, but....yeah.








Sunday, October 23, 2011

Easy Come Easy Go

Dear Murphy,
Will you let me go?
Thank you,
me

I was listening to Dave Ramsey the other day--America's get-debt-free guru--and he mentioned how using the last of your savings to pay off your debt is probably a bad plan.  He cautioned that as soon as you deplete your reserves, Mr. Murphy comes a-knockin'.

Luckily, I have not been in that situation too often.  I much more experience with Murphy coming to call as soon as I finally DO have some savings.

Our budget is pretty tight, but sometimes my darling wife will succeed in selling something we do not need and bring in a little more cushion cash for us.

This week, we sold some baby furniture that we never really used.   Result: 50 bucks.

Later this week, we locked ourselves out of our house.  Guess how much a locksmith charges to unlock your house?  You got it.



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Economic Solution

Saturday Night Live find the answer to the current economic problems in the United States.  Way to go!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Many Faces

Here are some pictures of Jace with one of his favorite toys.  He likes to play with this one in the car.  It plays music with flashing lights.

I think each one of these pictures should be viewed independently.











Sure do love him.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Rollover

I know this was a few weeks ago, but that is pretty impressive considering it usually takes me a year or two to post some things.
video
It's kind of neat that we got Jace's first-ever rollover on video.
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This last one is Jace's third-ever rollover; it shows the whole process for him.  Now Jace is rolling over like crazy, but still only from back to front in that same direction.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Guitar Extend-a-case

Check out my latest project.  For my most recent birthday, my father and Heidi got me a new guitar case because the one I was using was old and falling apart.  I had it held together with duct tape, but me new case is solid and I know my guitar will be secure.
I also have an acoustic bass guitar that has until recently been without a carrying case.  So I decided to turn my old guitar case into a new bass case.

Nothing a little more cardboard and duct tape can't fix.
nice rug too, eh?


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Welcome Home Gift, From Nature

Summer at home was great for everyone, but we're back in Provo for the school year.  We're back in the house we left behind, but it seems there is a lot more work to do all of a sudden.


My brother already informed you of the felled tree branch incident.  We finally got the branches cut up and removed (thanks to our landlord), but we now have hundreds of tiny weed trees growing up everywhere.  Couple that with the myriad of other giant weeds that have sprouted and the major piles of poop that have accumulated, and....yeah.  

The jungle atmosphere has also led to more wildlife.
This was growing under our back steps.

yum.
There are also tons of spiders and webs around the yard.  Don't worry, we're getting it taken care of.

These last few pictures are closeups of the felled branch mentioned earlier.  Apparently it was burned somehow in several places.  Any guesses as to the cause?
We think maybe 4th of July fireworks....

Or it could be the power lines that the tree was growing around...
Do you have any theories?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Future

The future is not some place we are going, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made. And the activity of making them changes both the maker and their destination.
-John Schaar

   I think these words are insightful and can teach us a lot.  Much of the future is in your hands.  Though I do believe in chance and coincidence, I also believe that the more you understand the laws of nature and the patterns of human behavior, the more predictable the future becomes.  Thus, the less scary the future is.

   If you want something to happen in the future, start making steps in that direction now.  Learn to understand how things are now, and what needs to change.  Then figure out what needs to be done in order for those changes to occur.  Finally, go out and do those things.

  People have asked me why I am so optimistic.  In part, the answer is because I feel so much in control.  I understand that I cannot control those things that are out of control, but everything else is fair game.  And the older I get, the longer I realize that "fair game" list really is.

UPDATE:
Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.
-Madame Marie Curie

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Campus Parking

I hate it.  I.  Hate.  Parking.  On Campus.

I often choose to walk 45 minutes in 90(plus)-degree weather (or snow) just so I don't have to try and find a place to leave my car for a few hours.  I only drive when I don't have time to walk.  Ironically, it usually takes as long (sometimes longer) to find a legal parking space.

Once, I had to stop at Wendy's after about 30 minutes because I needed a bathroom break.

I am late to a handful of classes each semester because of time spent circling campus.  More often than not, I am forced to park off campus.  I am not opposed to this, nor am I opposed to walking.  The problem arises in the fact that if I am looking for parking, I am already running late.  By the time I am forced off campus, class is likely to be underway.

Additionally, parking off campus means parking on Provo streets where the prospects are not much better.  (Ask me about my 1-hour parking problem).  

And I am not alone in my woes.  People have been complaining about car placement opportunities for decades.

When I started graduate school, I was excited because I could finally park in the Graduate Student lots.  Last year, however, several undergraduates boasted they never got ticketed when parking in Grad lots.  This led me to think that they were not monitoring those lots...
    They are monitoring them now.

This picture was taken by BYU patrol this afternoon.  That's my car in the motorcycle stall.  The sad thing is, I am totally okay with paying the what-turned-out-to-be-a $10 fine.  In fact, I was willing to pay up to $30 for this one-time privilege.  I made out with $20 in consumer surplus.  I don't know why BYU doesn't just charge for parking.

I just totaled all my BYU parking fines since I started driving in 2007.  $222 (this includes 3 boots).  That's less than $45 a year.  How much would you pay to ensure a parking space on BYU campus for a year?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ideas

If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.

George Bernard Shaw

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rummikub... I didn't win.

In order to join the game, one needs a combination of:
(a) runs of the same color, OR
(b) at least three tiles of the same number but different colors,
(c) whose numbers add up to more than 30.

 I laid duplicate tiles over each other...
 still no... maybe the next draw.
not likely.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Why the budget deficit?



Well done, Mr. Standup Economist.  Guess what, Americans. It might be your fault.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Recording vs. Experiencing

This article on NPR.org reminded me of something I have thought about often lately, especially after having a child.

I often wish that I took more pictures and videos of life as it happens.  I love looking at pictures and watching old home videos of myself and my family from when I was too young to remember, and I love sharing these memories with others.  Unfortunately, I always wish we had more to review and enjoy, and possibly learn from (who knows what we can learn about ourselves be watching ourselves as children).

Now that I am a father, I want to document every great moment and every day-to-day experience that happens so that my son and future children can have those memories when they grow up.

The challenge, however, is that whenever I am behind a camera I do not feel involved in the moment.  The above article reminds me that I am not alone in this struggle to balance the recording of life with simply experiencing it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Family Photo Shoot

     We're getting to be quite the professional unpaid photographers.  This summer we took a new photo of Grandma and Grandpa Jeppson's grandkids.  With twin toddlers, a baby, and six other children under 20, the photo shoot was incredibly as-you-may-expect (observe the still-shoot montage below for details).

But after three and half nearly uninterrupted days of Photoshop, I think the picture turned out quite well.
(click the picture for detail)
Welcome home, Elder and Sister Jeppson!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Woerter

  1. mercurial- erratic; subject to sudden, unpredictable changes.
  2. miasma- a highly unpleasant odor or vapor; an oppressive or unpleasant atmosphere.
  3. fadge- Irish potato bread
  4. calenture- a seafaring term given to heat stroke and to the delirium associated therewith.
  5. tenesmus- a medical condition; when you feel like you need to have urgent diarrhea but nothing comes.
  6. austral- pertaining to the southern hemisphere
  7. preternatural- beyond what is normal or natural; supernatural
  8. bloater- salted smoked herring
  9. to gambol- to run or jump around playfully
  10. bullion- gold or silver in bulk, valued by weight
  11. pampas- the vast grassy plains of South America

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Another Semester Over...

School became really difficult toward the end of the semester.  Kira was in and out of the hospital a few times and Jace came the week that all of my final projects were due.  My professors were all really understanding, I had to finish some tests and projects late, I did not even complete one project, and I still finished with a good GPA.  Modesty precludes me telling you exactly what that is.

On the down side, neither of us have really had a job since March.  Now that we're back home in the Tri-Cities, I have started an unpaid internship at the Benton County Commissioners office in Kennewick.  Hopefully this week we will get a solid internet connection at home and then I will continue the research I started this semester.  We also expect some insurance reimbursements this summer.  That will help.

On the up side, Kira and I have had few responsibilities to distract us from taking care of Jace.  And I have had more time to read and play the guitar.  By that I mean, read books and play the guitar.

End.

Home Again, Home Again...

First thing first-
On April 8, 2011 at 3:33pm, Jace Hawken Miller was born in the American Fork Hospital (you can see these pictures if you're friends with me on facebook).  He was 19 inches long and weighed 5 lbs 15.5 oz.  Shortly thereafter, we took time for an infant Photo Shoot (you can see these pictures if you're friends with Kira on facebook).

After a few weeks, we gave him a bath and all the hair on top of his head fell out.  After 6 weeks, he is over 11 pounds and has almost grown out of his newborn clothes.  He eats every 3-3.5 hours during the day and 4-5 hours at night.  Other than that, he poops.  We love him a lot.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Error on the Side of

Caution or Optimism.

So I know most of you are eager to hear more about Baby J, but that's too bad.  I'm going to tell you really quick about the other mini-visitor we hosted this week.

Two days before Kira was supposed to be induced, we got a little surprise.

Kira spotted him first.  We had a mouse in our house.  Our landlord assures us that he's never seen a mouse in there before and that there are no holes; he must have come in from the garage.

If he weren't running around in my bedroom, he might actually be kind of cute.  It took us an hour and a half to get him out of the house.  It may have taken us longer, but luckily the mouse found a way to climb up one of Kira's dresses and hid in the clothes hanging up in our closet.

Eventually we trapped him onto one hanger, dropped the hanger into a bucket and took him outside.  The fun part was that then we had to wash all of our clothes and the bedding from our room (in case he had somehow climbed up the bedskirt).

I always try to be safe, have backup plans, and error on the side of caution.  We thought about the possibility of the mouse getting into other rooms or onto tabletops, etc.  Then I thought about equating marginal cost and marginal benefit.  The odds that the mouse got on anything else was not high enough to go through the effort of deep cleaning anything else.  I realized that it is sometimes better to error on the side of optimism.  We assumed the best and stop cleaning at 2:00am.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Two Thoughts About Progression

Anyone who knows me too well knows that I am a huge advocate for the idea that you (and I mean you, literally) can make and choose your own destiny.  The following thoughts are related to this and were spawned by the accompanying scripture verses.

Exodus 20:3
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

I think one example of  an "other god" that does not seem to come up that often is our self, or our nature.  Many people may believe that they are trapped by that which makes them them.  They may say, "that is just the way I am" or "I am just that type of person".  The core of this belief is that our tendencies define who we are, and we are subject to them.  I disagree.

Yes, each of us may be apt to feel or act a certain way in a given situation.  When oppressed, for example, some people may be quicker to anger or others less likely to stand up for themselves.  In the short run, it may be difficult to overcome these natural tendencies.  Nevertheless, I believe that our natural self is malleable.  In the long run, our habits and tendencies are subject to our own choices.  This applies not only to our ability to overcome undesirable habits, but also to our ability to become whatever type of person we want to be (outgoing, reserved, honest, deceitful, etc).  I repeat, our habits and tendencies are subject to our own choices.

To me, this is the crux of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the associated commandments.  When we subject our will to Christ's will, His Atonement becomes efficacious in our lives.  The Atonement of Christ gives us added power to influence change in ourselves, to evolve, and to adapt.

John 15:8
Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

Several verses speak about bearing fruit in different contexts.  As is the case with most scripture, this can mean different things to different people at different times.  That is the power of symbolism, which I may discuss at a later time.

When I think about what it means to bear fruit--especially when I think about what it would mean if I were a branch of the vine that is Jesus--I think of the verse in Moses, which declares that God's purpose is to save mankind.  If bearing fruit means to follow Christ and to contribute to our Father's ultimate goal, then I think it means to be actively involved in the salvation of God's children.  This can be done in many ways and though I believe that this is the core function of the church organization, no church can carry the main responsibility.

In fact, when the prophets speak of those branches that do not bear fruit, they often teach that these branches serve no purpose and are to be cast off and burned.  When are we branches that do not bear fruit?  I suggest that we neglect to bear fruit when we, at best, just go through the motions of living the Gospel.  We may go to church meetings regularly and say our prayers, but we are just living.  If we are not constantly seeking out ways to improve ourselves, then we stagnate. We are likely missing the purpose of this life.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Now to work

Here I am once again.  It is now 10:00pm on the night before I have a 5-page analysis due, and I am about to start.  Soon.

But on the bright side, Kira has now seen all but the most recently made Star Wars movie.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Some Pictures from a Year Ago

Perhaps it is needless to say, but I am ready for summer again.
 This is some image in the sky that we saw one day outside of our front door in the Oxford Apartments.  It was a peaceful day.
 I don't know if this was an accident or not, but the leaf that fell on this sidewalk will be forever remembered.
 Tree Leaves
 These might be from last autumn, but who can tell?
One of the larger zucchinis from our garden--we had a garden!!
I love hiking. This was a bridge we crossed on a hike in Oregon last summer.