Thursday, January 31, 2008

Where a Kid Can Be a Kid

Last Saturday we were trying to decide where to eat dinner. While driving aimlessly around Orem trying to make a decision we ran smack into inspiration in the form of a neon red sign that read, "Chuck E. Cheese's." Neither Jeff nor I had been since our younger years so we decided to give it a try. (You should have seen how giddy Jeff was. He was practically skipping across the parking lot.)

Well, in spite of our hopeful glee, the entire experience was less than perfect. First of all, the Chuck E. Cheese's I went to as a kid were much bigger (and not just because I was much smaller). The pizza was awful, the salad bar mediocre, and all of it overpriced. The larger-than-life electronic puppets on the stage are as frightening as ever, and the costumed employee parading as Chuck scared Logan right out of his wits. On a positive note, all the games took only one token ($0.25) but they were dirty, the selection was minimal, and some bratty little kid would shove you out of the way if you spent half a second longer at the machine than they felt necessary.

Despite my disgust, Logan seemed to enjoy himself. While on his first ride (a moving trolley) he spotted the basketball game across the room and that was all we heard of for the rest of the night. "Basbet [pause] ball? Basbet [pause] ball?" (We're still working on putting two words together seamlessly.) It was pretty cute to watch him take shots with Jeff holding him up and over the net. I didn't have my camera with me, but this was a souvenir from one of the rides:

All in all, I might go back just to let Logan ride the rides and play the games (since they were, after all, only a quarter each) but I will avoid the food and only go during a time when most kids are in school!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Everything Politics

Since this is our family blog and not just Carly's ramblings blog (contrary to what it may seem), I feel inclined to let you know of Jeff's latest passion: politics. He has always tried to be informed of the current political status (in high school he even walked into a Democratic caucus meeting and emerged as a committee member... but no, we are not Democrats); however, I have to attribute this involvement of late to the radio host Glenn Beck. Jeff refuses to move closer to work because without a commute he wouldn't be able to listen to Glenn's evening show. So anyway, Jeff and his brother started a blog to share their political thoughts with the world. In case you would all like to visit it, go to http://everythingpolitics08.blogspot.com/. Go Mitt!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What to do when you can't trust the rating system...

In today's world, it is not always safe to assume that a PG-13 movie will not include the things we try so hard to avoid. A friend introduced this great website for screening movies before you see them. Without giving away the plot, it describes exactly what you will get in terms of sex and nudity, violence and gore, profanity, substance use, and discussion topics. I would highly recommend it before seeing any movie, especially ones you plan to watch with children. In case the link above doesn't work, the address is http://www.kids-in-mind.com/.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Farewell, Beloved Prophet

We ever pray for thee with fervent love;
And as the children's prayer is heard above,
Thou shalt be ever blest, and God will give
All that is meet and best while thou shalt live.

In memory of President Gordon B. Hinckley, 1910-2008.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Fellow Readers...

A friend of mine introduced me to goodreads.com, a website where you can share ratings and reviews of books you've read. At first I thought, "Great. Another account to maintain." But then it occurred to me that this is just what I've been looking for. I read purely off of recommendations. So when I run out of suggestions, I end of re-reading books I've read thousands of times before. Please, help keep me out of the-land-of-books-I've-read-too-often and give me some ideas! Either start a goodreads account and make me your friend or just post some good books as a comment.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Craig's List

Other than the insignificant purchase of our truck, I've never bought anything off Craig's list. I've looked at it, in fact, I've spent a lot of time looking at it, but I'd never found anything worth buying. My brothers buy things off Craig's List all the time, but that's because they live in San Diego where people are getting rid of almost new things for a pittance, not in Utah where middle-age moms try to sell the stroller that's seen them through 8 kids and is missing two wheels. For $100.

So I didn't have much hope when I decided to sell our desk on Craig's list. We got it for free, so I wasn't concerned about getting much out of it. More than anything, I figured it was easier to give it away than throw it away. So I listed it. Here is the desk.

I submitted the post and didn't think much of it. Until a half an hour later. When someone bought it. And 10 minutes later. When someone else called. Then 30 minutes after that. And 20 minutes after that. I could hardly take the post off fast enough! I guess next time I'll try to get more out of it than $20!

Changing Your Blog Template

Most of you who will be reading this post know more about blogs than I do. But I have some family members I am desperately trying to get into blogging who have asked for some help in getting started. For those who may be interested, here is my limited knowledge on modifying your blog template.

There are several sites you can use (pyzam.com, for example) and if you search "blog templates" in any search engine you'll find all sorts of places to get templates for your blog. I've encountered a couple of problems doing that (such as losing all of my sidebar elements every time I upload a new template) so I've resorted to editing the html behind the template each time I want to change my background.

I really don't know much about writing html, but I've figured out enough to change a few things that make your blog unique and personal. The first step is finding some fun digital paper. You can search "free digital scrapbooking paper" to find some sites. My favorite is shabbyprincess.com. Download the paper to your computer.

The next step is hosting your paper somewhere on the web. There are some free sites that will do this for you. I like photobucket best. Create a free account to get started. Upload your digital papers to the site.

Meanwhile, change your blog template to the Minima template. Do this by selecting the "Template" tab and then "Pick New Template." This is one of blogspot's templates so you won't lose all your elements by selecting it. Then, while still in the "Template" tab, select "Edit HTML." I would recommend copying everything in the editing box into a separate text editor for the next step.

You need to make a few changes to the HTML. First look for the section that starts:

body {

You will need to add a line that says:


You can get the image location from photobucket. Just copy the direct link and paste it in place of "IMAGE_LOCATION." You can use different images (digital papers) for each of the following sections to make things more interesting. I would recommend a solid color for the outer wrapper and header.

So now your HTML will have a section that looks like this:

body {

You will also need to add the lines in red to these other sections of the HTML:

#header-wrapper {
margin:0 auto 20px;
border:1px solid $bordercolor;

#header {
margin: 30px;
border: 1px solid $bordercolor;
text-align: center;

#outer-wrapper {
width: 58.5%;
padding:2.5% 7.5%;
font: $bodyfont;

Almost done! If you want to change some of your font colors, edit the variable definitions at the top of the HTML.

For example, to get a new background color change the red in the following:

type="color" default="#fff" value="#ffffff">

This value is the hexadecimal (hex) code for a color. To find the hex code for a given color, you can use this image or, again, use my favorite tool, the search engine, and search "hex color codes."

Now just copy all the HTML you have modified and paste it back into the blogspot editing interface.

I know that sounds like a lot of work, but once you get the hang of it it's really fun and easy to play around with. Good luck and let me know if you have any problems!

Monday, January 14, 2008

What's your vote?

I scheduled an ultrasound today for early February. Although some may disagree with me, I consider myself fortunate to live in an age of modern technology and fully anticipate taking advantage of it to find out the gender of our expected arrival. Contrary to our first child, I have absolutely no motherly intuition about what this baby will be. Jeff feels confident it is a boy (he thinks we only have the genetic makeup for boys) so I am inclined to root for a girl. That way, our child will feel wanted by at least one of his/her parents. (Just kidding!)

We would like you all to feel included in our guessing game, so submit your vote in the poll on the right. I'll let you know the verdict on February 7.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Cry Me a River

Ever since Logan was born, I've had a tendency to be a bit of a leaky faucet. Just about anything (especially involving children or families) can make me cry. Lately, probably due to the fact my hCG levels have gone from 5 mIU/ml to 100,000 mIU/ml in a matter of weeks, it's been amazing how the littlest thing can set me off. Here's a sample of some of the things that have brought me to tears:

1. Songs on the radio including Christmas Shoes, Letter to Me, Bring Him Home Santa (trust me, you'll cry if you watch this one, too).

2. Commercials: Sylvan Learning Center (the one where the Mom reads her son's report card and sees he has straight A's).

3. Movies and Previews: Work and The Glory III Preview (which I've already seen so you'd think I'd be prepared for a 30 second clip), Baby Einstein (there's one scene with a mom and her kids baking cookies... gets me every time).

4. Stories: The Little Wise Men (this one is really ridiculous; I don't know why it made me cry).

The list goes on, but I think you get the idea. So if you happen to see me red-eyed and with a stuffy nose, nothing is really wrong, I'm just listening to the radio.