Performancing Metrics

Riding Haylee's Comet

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Camping and 4th of July

For the 4th of July weekend we decided to go camping. It had been three years since we had been camping, and it would be Haylee's first time, so we were all very excited. Even though there is an absence of mountains around here, there are plenty of trees, hills and greenery. Our destination was Governor Dodge State Park about 45 min from our house. The campsite was beautiful with plenty of stuff to do. There are two lakes and lots of trails to hike. We had tons of fun making foil dinners, building fires, roasting marshmallows, eating smores, telling ghost stories, skipping rocks in one of the lakes, and hiking to a waterfall. We can't wait to go again.

JT had fun helping to set up camp. His favorite job was to collect twigs to help start the fire.

Haylee had almost as much fun sitting in the camp chairs as she did trying to crawl around to eat dirt, rocks, and anything else she could get her hands on.

Skipping rocks on one of the lakes.

Our dog Max thought he should get to sleep on our air mattress. We will have to figure something else out if we want to take him camping again; he spent half the night pacing around the tent and keeping us awake.

A hollow tree we found on our hike. You could look all the way through it.

A spring house along the trail.

One last shot from the hike: an awesome rock face at the bottom of "Hidden Canyon."

Last but not least is a shot just before watching fireworks. There is a huge fireworks show here in Madison called Rhythm and Booms. It is a show where the fireworks are choreographed to music. It sounded like fun, but when we heard that they were expecting more than 200,000 people to attend we were a bit intimidated. Fortunately Brandon found a great plan B. The fireworks are shot off on the edge of one of the lakes in downtown Madison. One the opposite side of the lake is another state park. We used are pass from camping to enter the state park and watch the fireworks with a much smaller crowd.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

New House

When we moved to Madison, Brandon had only been here once for his interview. The rest of us had never even been close. We contemplated trying to find a place to live from afar, but since this strategy had put us in some places we didn't really want to live in previous moves we decided against it. Fortunately, as part of our moving package Epic would put us up in an extended stay hotel for up to two weeks.

Them main problem was that we didn't want to have to move all of our stuff into a storage facility for two weeks; then move it into our house. We arrived in Madison on May 30. Our moving truck reservation allowed us to keep the truck until June 2. That gave us three days to find somewhere to live. We toured several apartments and town homes. The pickings for immediate move in were a little slim, but we found a place we wanted to rent. After some confusion with the property management company about which homes were actually available, and which place we were actually renting, we got everything set and moved our stuff in on June 3. Lucky for us Penske didn't even charge us for the extra day.

So far we have really liked our new house. It is a end unit town home in south west Madison. There are three bedrooms, two and a half baths, formal dining (which we just use for a playing), and it even has an unfinished basement. The location is awesome. Only a couple minutes from Epic, close to shopping and church, and right across the street from the school JT will attend in the fall. We are finally pretty much settled and really enjoying our new adventures here in Wisconsin. Here are a few pictures.
View from the sidewalk in front of the house.

Living Room.

Kitchen and Breakfast nook. It is not my favorite of the kitchens that I have had, but definitely not my least favorite either.

Haylee's half of the kids' room.

JT's half of their room.

I asked JT to make his bed because I was going to take a picture for the blog. He was so proud of his work that he wanted a close up picture of his work to make it onto the blog.

Our basement with plenty of storage.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Big Move

In conjunction with Brandon's graduation he also got a new job. When this job first popped up everything about it seemed great; except for the fact that it was located in Madison, Wisconsin. Not that we had anything against Wisconsin; it is just that it is 1400 miles from our nearest family. However, it turned out to be an opportunity we couldn't pass up, and we are truly grateful for how things have fallen into place.

Once we decided that Madison would be the place for us, we needed to figure out how to move the four of us, a dog, and all of our stuff to the other side of the country. The thought of being stuck in a car for 3 days with five year old and a one year old was a bit intimidating, but with some help we made it through.

On the evening of May 26, Brandon's parents and sister, Rebekah, flew in from Utah to offer their help. The next day was set to load up the truck and begin our move. First thing in the morning on May 27 Brandon and his dad went to go pick up the truck and car trailer. We loaded and cleaned until about 4:00 in the afternoon. After we got checked out with our landlord we were set to go. Brandon was driving with our dog Max and his Mom in a 26 foot truck with a trailer carrying one of the cars. The rest of us piled into our newly purchased Toyota Highlander.
We decided to travel to Flagstaff, Arizona that first night to get a head start on our journey. We stayed their Thursday night before we started the rest of the travel.

Friday morning, May 28, we set off for the first real leg of our trip. We traveled 600 miles from Flagstaff, through New Mexico, and into Amarillo, Texas. The kids were all geared up and ready to go. Here are a couple of pictures of them ready to go on Friday morning.

All things considered the first day went well. The hardest part was that because Arizona does not participate in daylight savings time we would be losing two hours as we traveled to Texas. Because of this, we didn't get to our hotel until 11:00pm, but at least we made it. Fortunately, this was the only time change we had to deal with through out the trip.

On Saturday, May 29, we were able to visit with Brandon's cousin and her family before we left Amarillo. It was fun to take a little break from driving to see them. Once we were back on the road, this leg of our journey was set to take us 545 miles from Amarillo, through Oklahoma, and in to Springfield, Missouri. The kids were getting a little sick of the car at this point, but they were still troupers. JT had fun watching The Incredibles and Up on Grandma's portable DVD player, and spending time with Grandma and Becca. We made it to Missouri without any trouble.

Finally on Sunday, May 30 we were set for the last leg of our move. We traveled from Springfield, through Illinois, and finally into Madison, Wisconsin. We found a sacrament meeting to attend and then set off on the road again. At this point the kids, and all of us for that matter, were pretty sick of the car. Haylee was really starting to loose it with about 200 miles to go, but after a quick pit stop she made it the rest of the way. Below are some pictures of the kids very ready to be done with the driving.

All in all the move went incredibly smooth. The kids were great, the cars didn't have any problems, we didn't get lost. What more could we ask for? It was pretty stressful, but definitely worth it in the end. There is no way we could have done it without the help of Brandon's family. Thanks so much for all of the help cleaning, packing, loading, driving, and entertaining the kids.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


On May 15 we got to celebrate the end of a very busy year. Brandon graduated with a Masters of Science in Information Management degree. He started the program in June of 2009. The program was two nights a week from 6 until 10 at night. At the same time, Brandon was a computer programming teacher at a technical high school, and a computer and health teacher for an online high school. After way too many days of crazy hours, and a lot of hard work, he made it to graduation.

Brandon's parents came form Utah to help us celebrate the big day. We had not seen them since Christmas so Haylee and JT had a great time hanging out with grandma and grandpa. JT had fun showing off his soccer skills by taking Grandma and Grandpa to soccer practice. Haylee was kind enough to take her very first steps right in front of Grandma. It was so nice to spend some time with family. Thanks for making that long drive!

I am so grateful to have such a hard working husband. I know that it is not easy, but Brandon is always working tirelessly to support our family. I am amazed at all he does. Congratulations!

Brandon with a few of his buddies from the program before the ceremony.

We actually got a picture of our whole family.

We are so proud of our graduate.

Already 1!

April 30 was Haylee's 1st birthday. I can not believe how fast this last year has gone by. It has been such a fun year adding sweet little Haylee into our family. From the moment she was born I simply could not imagine life with out her. I can't wait to watch her continue to become the amazing little person that she is. Here are a few pictures.

Taking Over

I have been wanting to start a blog for quite some time and just haven't found the time to do it. When Brandon started this blog last year I figured that at some point I would contribute too. Unfortunately Brandon got far too busy to keep up the blog the way he wanted to, and I never got around to adding anything. However, now that we have moved completely across the country I decided that I need to take over so that family and friends can still have a chance to watch JT and Haylee grow up. I hope this makes us feel a little closer than we really are.

Because life has been so crazy and busy for us lately I think I will back track a bit to cover some of the things that have been going on. After that my goal is to add a post at least once a week. Hopefully writing that here for all to see will help me to actually keep that goal.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Finding Balance

A couple months ago my Dad said something to me that really made me think. I was telling him about how busy I was with school and worrying about trying to find a job. And then he said something to the effect to make sure you spend as much time as you can when your kids are young because before you know it they will be gone.

I'm busier than I've ever been in my entire life. And more will be piled on when school starts back again next week. I honestly have been working pretty much from the time I get up until I go to sleep all in an effort to support my family. Something I've missed dearly this week though has been being around Tonya and the kids. In fact my first day back at work Tonya texted me that J.T. was going through one of his crazy breakdowns because I had to go back to work. It tore at my heart because I knew that I wasn't going to be around much this next year.

So that's my dilemma right now. Trying to figure out how to balance everything in my life. Besides just family life, I would also love to find time to do the things I enjoy such as running or playing basketball. School has not been nice to my weight and I've almost gained 25 pounds since I ran my first marathon back in December. I'm watching my six-pack slowly disappear.

There just aren't enough hours in the day. Why can't the earth take 48 hours to rotate around instead of 24? I just hope the day will come when I can work at a good paying job that will allow me plenty of time to spend with my family and leave me some time to stay in shape. I just hope that time comes before all my kids are gone and my wife doesn't know me anymore.