Sunday, December 25, 2011

Curtis brushed his teeth tonight, which was good. But he was chewing gum at the time, which I guess wasn't too good.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Another Christmas Miracle

I took Curtis to Cookie Cutters today to deal with his hippie hair. To my surprise, he didn't freak out when we got there, which meant he didn't have to sit on my lap, which meant I didn't have to hold the kid thrashing in rage. And he wore his cape, which meant we didn't both have to get covered in hair, which in turn makes one of us even more upset. And he didn't move his head around like Stevie Wonder, causing the poor 18-year-old barber girl to do about as good a job as I could with my sideburn trimmer. Merry Christmas every one.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Has Come Early

Right now Paige and Curtis are at "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked."

Without Traci and me.

Thanks grandparents, for making this the best Christmas ever.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Li'l Rudolph or The Plight of Christopher Columbus

Paige had her school Christmas program today. She and her fellow kindergarteners sang Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. She was pretty excited about singing such awesome echoes as "like a lightbulb." The real surprise came when the kids followed "you'll go down in history," with "like Justin Bieber!"

"Justin Bieber?" I asked.

"Yeah," she replied. "Because not everybody knows who Columbus is."

And there you have it. Bieber discovered America.

(And he was like "Baby, baby, baby, oh.")

Friday, December 16, 2011

Heavyweight Tate

At some point, our little baby boy turned into a chubby linebacker. Last night, I was bouncing him on my foot and now my thighs feel like I just ran a 5k.

"Just more of me to love, Dad," his eyes said. "Just more of me to love."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"These Feet are Delicious," Starring Tate

It's hard enough to feed Tate with his hands flailing about. But when he gets his feet in the mix? Forget about it.

Can't see the video? Click here.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Words with Enemies

I'm about as good at Words with Friends as I am at Fantasy Football (I told the commissioner I wasn't going to play after last year's 1-12 season. He said it had just been a "rebuilding year."). I generally lose to any opponent by 50-200 points.

My friend Brett always slaughters me. But this time was different. Four simple letters, J-O-Y-S, netted me 105 points, thanks to both a triple letter AND a triple word score. 105 points! I had to tell Traci. (And I wanted to tell everyone I know.)

I chose not to call it out to Brett. What kind of sore winner would I be if I did?

But then things started to change. Brett would throw out a 30-point word, and then a 35, and then a 50!

This was not looking good. My hands were starting to sweat.

And then he pulled away. The final score was 389-373, despite my 100-point word.

If only I had the letters to spell d-e-j-e-c-t-e-d.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Tonsils Out, Evil Remains

We didn't tell Curtis he was getting his tonsils out until we got to the hospital. Not surprisingly, he showed his strong will as soon as we got into the exam room.

NURSE: Hi, Curtis. Can you put on these nice little jammies and socks?

Curtis refuses.

NURSE: I've got this really cool coloring book. Do you want to color in it?

He throws it on the floor.

He kicked and screamed as the nurse tried to take his temperature and listen to his heart. He writhed and screamed as they gave him his medicine (a light sedative), and then quickly calmed down as it kicked in. Even drugged up, he wasn't about to put on that hospital gown and, refusing to ride in the little wagon to the Operating Room, had to be carried away (screaming) by anesthesiologist in just his diaper.

The doctor told us a tonsillectomy would be easy for him--about a 20 minute procedure--but hard for us, who would have to deal with an upset little guy for a couple of weeks.

As promised, the doctor appeared after only a few minutes to tell us that all had gone well.

"He was pretty worked up when he came into the O.R.," he said. "He threw his truck at us."

"But crying just makes you breathe deeper and it only took about two breaths before his sedative mask kicked in."

He was screaming again when he was delivered to us in the recovery area, which I'm sure didn't feel good on his sore throat. He looked like he'd been through the ringer, with scratches on his face where I'm sure he was trying to claw off his oxygen mask. It was pretty sad to see him with his little IV in his hand. Fortunately, a kid-sized Lortab knocked him back out and he spent the rest of day in a foggy haze.

The doctor was right about the recovery time. We had about 10 days where he didn't want to eat anything (not even the freezer full of popsicles and ice cream), woke up screaming (and often kicking) several times a night, and was generally miserable.

And then he was back to normal.

They don't take kids' tonsils out like they used to. Apparently, Curtis' were mega enough, and causing enough earaches and sore throats, that it warranted the procedure. The doctor also thought it would help Curtis get a more restful sleep each night.

For the kid who wakes up each morning in ornery mode, I thought this was going to be a life changer. I had convinced myself that all of his naughtiness was residing in those tonsils and when they came out, we'd have a brand new boy.

Nope. Still evil.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Sharing and Caring

Paige is such a considerate six-year-old. When she woke us up at one in the morning, she said, "I tried not to throw up on my bed." And she didn't. Instead she, from her top bunk, threw up over the side--and onto her little brother below. Fortunately, we were able to change Curtis' blankets without him even waking up.

The next night it was Curtis' turn to be sick. He didn't have anyone below him to throw up on, but he did manage to hit just about every surface in the house.

Vomit is a little bit like thinking you have lice. Once you smell it, you think everything smells like it. Traci was lying in the bed and said, "Do you still smell throw up somewhere?" Unable to locate the source, she reached over and grabbed the laptop next to the bed and started typing away. A few keystrokes in and there was some crunching in the keyboard.

I spent yesterday prying up the keys and digging out the dried vomit.

Too much information?

Monday, November 21, 2011


Curtis did something quite unexpected tonight. I asked him to stop playing and get his pajamas on. And he did!

Quite surprised, I said, "Curtis, thanks for being obedient, buddy."
"I learned about being obedient in nursery."

Had someone taken my terrible three-year-old and replaced him with this kid?

Before I could even finish that thought, Curtis walked up to me and punched me in the stomach.
Nope. Still the same kid.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Curtis: The Fugitive

Paige skipping school wasn't the only big news of the day. Traci came home with Curtis' preschool picture as well. She texted this to me:

She added in her note, "I feel like this pretty much sums up Curtis as a three-year-old."

Curtis isn't going to let anyone tell him what to do. Do you think Curtis is going to smile or say cheese just because you ask him to? Oh, heavens no. Instead, he's going to just go ahead and pose for his eventual mugshot. What can I say, he's a tough guy.

The next day, I tried to sneak a smile out of him as we walked Paige to the bus stop. I didn't capture any teeth, but I did get this shot of him wearing his Salt Lake Bees hat.

Underneath that rough exterior, he's really a softie.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Parenthood Firsts: The "Sick" Day

I was at work when Paige's elementary school called.

"Hi, this is the secretary. We've got Paige here in the sick room. She says her stomach doesn't feel well and she thinks she might throw up."


"Can you come pick her up or would you like us to keep her here?"

"I'm at work, but my wife should be home. Let me see if I can track her down."

I found Traci and she headed over to pick up our sick little girl. I was heading into a meeting, but I asked her to text me when she picked Paige up.

TRACI: I've got her, but I feel really doubtful that she's sick.

This was at about 11:00. Traci takes Curtis to preschool at 12:30.

SPENCER: See if she wants to go back when you take Curtis.

TRACI: She's mad because I told her that if she's sick, she can't have any Halloween candy. She doesn't want to go back, though.

TRACI: She just asked me for lunch. I asked about her "sick" stomach. She told me it's actually her teeth that hurt. What is the emoticon for rolling eyes? 

Despite the lack of candy, Paige seemed to have a wonderful day off of school. I got this text later in the afternoon.

TRACI: Paige is in her room playing school. Apparently being a teacher requires you to speak in a British accent. 

Oh, the irony of staying home from school just so you can play school in your room.

I guess this shouldn't have come as too much of a surprise. Just the Sunday before, Paige said to me, "Can we stay home from church today?"

"No," I replied. "We have to go to church."

"We could just pretend we're sick."

Yes, I thought. Yes, we could.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The Crypt Keeper Five

Along with parenthood has come the need for favorites. Favorite colors, and numbers, and Wiggles, and monster trucks, and Strawberry Shortcake characters. And, of course, favorite holidays.

Paige loves holidays. She'll bound into our bedroom to awake us with cheers of "It's Martin Luther King Day!" or "I can't believe it's already Labor Day!" But Halloween, that's her number one holiday.

Curtis, on the other hand, is clearly rooted in his terrible, terrible threes and kind of hates everything. He spent all of last Halloween trying to get out of his costume, only to tell us that he wanted to wear the same fireman getup again this year.

So while Paige headed off to school to count down the minutes until she could come back and get in her costume, Curtis was at home trying to avoid the holiday all together.

I invited Traci and the boys to come to my work to trick or treat around the cubicles. A few minutes before they were to arrive, Traci called to tell me that Curtis was refusing to get in the car.

"Oh, just shove him in there, he'll like it when he gets here," I advised. (Fatherly wisdom.)

She did. And then she called me again from the parking lot. "Curtis is refusing to get out of the car."

Despite my efforts to coax him out with candy and the promise that he wouldn't have to speak to (or look at) anyone, he stood strong in his resistance. So Traci, Curtis, and Tate in his little skeleton onesy turned around and headed back home. 

The evening went a bit better. Curtis agreed to get in his costume (sans hat) for some trick or treat action.

Paige led the way, running from door to door and constantly being amazed by the amount of candy booty. But then things took a turn for the worst. Heading up to another door, she tripped on a step and came up with a pretty bad bloody lip.

"Are you okay, sweetheart?" I asked.
Through hiccuping sobs she replied,"I'[sob, sob]...Let's...keep...trick or treating."

So we carried on, Paige walking somberly but resolutely and Curtis needing to be piggy-backed for most of the night. (It's fun to have a sleepy 30-pounder on your shoulders, banging you in the head with a plastic pumpkin.) 

Another holiday survived. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Paige's First Piano Recital

I don't think I used to be so gushy. But this a proud parent moment. A couple of years ago, Traci and I were worried that Paige would never stop being so incredibly shy. And now, here she is marching up to the front of the stage for a piano recital (after just three lessons) and bravely (if not a bit quietly) saying, "My name is Paige Sutherland and I will be playing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." (Traci's sister Makell joins her on the other two songs.)

We couldn't be more proud of her.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dear Mr. Fish, I Will Eat You Now

The year was 1987. It was Super Bowl Sunday and I was getting ready to cheer on my beloved Denver Broncos as they faced the New York Giants. My mother made halibut for dinner, which was noteworthy because she never cooked fish. Having no prior experience to fish, I ate it.

It was disgusting.

I can still taste the strong fishy flavor--combined with the bitter taste of a 39-20 loss, mixed with the salt of my six-year-old tears--on my tongue.

In the years since, I have avoided fish almost entirely. Until last week.

Much like yoga, I've always thought I should give sushi a try. But I've never been motivated enough to say, "Hey Traci, let's go get some sushi tonight." (Or say, "Let's go to sushi." Why do people "go to" sushi? I'm going to start saying, "Hey, let's go to pasta" or "Let's go to hamburgers.") And Traci would never agree to sushi anyway.

But I have some other friends who can't get enough of the uncooked stuff. So I tagged along.

My first sushi experience started off well enough. I was having a great time at the restaurant, chatting it up, and drinking my orange Fanta. And the something happened.

"What's that fishy smell in here?" I thought. It was, of course, our meal.

I started off cautiously with the California roll. Then I moved on to the Spider roll...and then to the Prozac roll...and then the Xanax roll...and then to all of the other ultra-cool-pharmaceutically-named rolls. I dipped stuff in eel sauce and wasabi sauce and whatever else. And soon I realized I'd already downed like 10 of the things.

Did I like it? No, not really. But I figured if I was going to try it, I better try it.

It wasn't until I was driving home--and thinking it best to roll down the window and get some air--that I realized that was a bit too much to ask of a stomach so unaccustomed to things of the sea. (Especially after the large amounts of deer jerky I'd eaten at lunch, prepared by the guy who said, 'I hope you don't get sick, I've never made deer jerky before.')

But I hung on.

And now I have two memories of fish: the first of three Denver Broncos Super Bowl defeats (which was bad), followed by two Denver Bronco victories (which was good); and a meal that made me a little sick (which was bad), but was accompanied by some delicious orange Fanta and some dear homies (which were both good).

Only four months 'til my birthday lunch at the Chuck a Rama.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Curtis Getting Tough on the Pitch

We have reached the end of Curtis' first season of soccer. I'd say it was a success. He scored a few goals for his team (and a bunch more for the other teams), he got a lot of treats, and he got to finish every bit of running with a little bit of rolling around on the ground.

I got this footage of him during his last game. Watch as he (number 10) shows the little girl on the other team who's boss. (Poor girl. She was pretty much down for the count.)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Desperately Hanging onto Summer

In a last ditch effort to hang on to summer, we headed to St. George this weekend with our friends the Smiths. What more can you ask for than a sunny 85 degrees?

And now, back home. Bummer, dude.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Once Again. The Sutherlands, Model of Healthy Eating

Paige: Can I have some salt and vinegar chips with my pancakes?

Me: Of course, sweetie.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Getting in Touch with My Pelvic Floor

I didn’t even know I had a pelvic floor.

I only made one New Year’s resolution this year: to take a yoga class. Why? I don’t know. Maybe  because we have a gym at my work with free yoga classes. Maybe because I think it’s good to feel like a complete idiot every once in a while.

I did it. I took my first yoga class.

From the first 30 seconds of the class, I realized the biggest challenge would be keeping a straight face. Which was tough, with the instructor saying things like, “Breathe down through your core all the way to your toes, giving added focus to your pelvis. Feel it move. Feel it moving your body.”

I thought yoga was going to be all about stretching and positive thinking. But I soon learned that “plank” position is just a euphemism for “pushup” position, and suddenly I was transported to seventh grade gym class. By the class’ halfway mark, I was already sweating profusely and feeling really bad for whoever was sitting behind me, as my shirt was falling over my head and shorts were going who knows where.

Toward the end, we were sitting cross-legged with a goal of resting our heads on the floor. For those whose bodies were not capable of achieving such a thing, an alternative was offered. Bend as far as you can, and rest your head on a little green foam block. My foam block quickly turned into a seat-filled sponge.

With 15 minutes left in the class, I started thinking I might actually be able to make It to the end (with 30 minutes left, I was really worried that I would have to give up and leave). I was glad I stuck it out, because the last 10 minutes was just lying on our backs with our eyes closed. Sweet.

After the class ended, several of my co-workers/co-yoga-ers asked what I thought of my first experience. With a dazed look on my face, I replied, “I’m not sure what just happened to me.”

Still confused, I walked into the locker room. One glance in the mirror and I noticed something odd. Green letters written backwards on my forehead.  Argh! The foam block.

The next day, I said to one of my friends, “Did you notice the writing on my forehead?”

“Yeah. But I figured you’d had a tough enough time in class that I didn’t need to say anything.”


Sunday, October 02, 2011

Dieter F. Uchtdorf vs. Mike Tyson's Punchout

Watching General Conference this morning...

ME: His name is Dieter F. Uchtdorf. He's from Germany.

PAIGE: I know someone else who's from Germany.

ME: Yeah? Who?

PAIGE: Von Kaiser.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Innocent Prayer of a (n Evil) Child

Now that Paige is all religious, Curtis has followed suit. So of course they fight over who's going to say the prayer (I don't think that either of them is as interested in saying the prayer as they are in making sure that the other one doesn't get to say it.)

This morning, we had the usual fight over who's turn it was. Curtis freaked out, and instead of just praying at the same time as Paige (only much louder) like he normally does, he took a more drastic approach. The second Paige closed her eyes, he grabbed a bottle of lotion and chucked it right at her head.

Are we the only family that has to pause mid-prayer to put their kids in time out?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tactical Soccer Genius for Three-Year-Olds

I was happy to hear these words of wisdom from Curtis' soccer coach to his team during half-time.

Coach: Okay, soccer friends. I want to tell you a secret. [She leans in closely and talks softly.] You guys are doing really good out there. But here's the thing: you can't punch or push. You can't punch or push the Yellow Jackets [the other team] and you can't punch or push the Blue Sharks [Curtis' team].

This was bad news for Curtis, who's not afraid to throw an elbow or two.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Blair Waldorf v. Pee-Wee Herman


The other night, Traci came home with "The Roommate."  This was not too surprising, seeing that it stars Leighton Meester (aka Blair Waldorf) and we watched at least the first three seasons of Gossip Girl before we gave up on it. But we don't normally watch scary movies.

When Meester's creepy, stalking character put her roommates cat in the dryer, I said, "Uh, so why did you rent this?"

"Oh, I don't know," Traci replied.

By the time Blair Waldorf was stabbing the roommate's ex-boyfriend with a boxcutter, Traci had to read a book to distract her from the movie.

The next night, we watched "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure," something that was a little more our speed. It's weird when you're old enough to say things like, "I haven't seen that movie in at least 15 years." But it's also weird that you can still know all of the words from a movie you haven't watched in 15 years.

One of my favorite lines:

Francis: Shut up, Pee-wee!
Pee-wee: Why don't you make me.
Francis: You make me!
Pee-wee: Because. I don't make monkeys, I just train 'em.
Francis: Pee-wee, listen to reason.
[Pee-Wee cuffs his hand around his ear in a listening motion]
Francis: Pee-wee!
Pee-wee: Sh! I'm listening to reason.
Francis: Pee-wee! 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Words of Wisdom from Young Women's Class

I was sitting in Sunday School when I noticed some remnants from the preceding Young Women's class still on the chalkboard:

1. Do not shank people

My heart filled with joy knowing that the youth of the Church are learning such valuable lessons.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Don't Forget About Me, Dad


Paige is off to kindergarten. Curtis is going to preschool. This kid's still at home, drooling and being generally quite likeable.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Scissor Kicks and Such

Only two kids on Curtis' soccer team scored goals on this, his inaugural game. Juan, who's five and at least a foot taller than all of the three year olds, scored about a dozen. The lone remaining goal was scored by little Curtis, who was as surprised as the rest of us to find himself right in front of the net when the ball bounced his way.

It was a successful first outing, despite a bit of apprehension on his part. He spent a lot of time being frozen where ever he stood, until his coach would lovingly say, "Curtis, go kick the ball." At which point, he would run and play and get knocked over (several times) and score a goal by accident. Then he'd go right back to standing until his coach prodded him on again. (After a while, I think he just liked the attention and I would catch him looking at his coach, just waiting for her to give him a little encouragement.)

Paige cheered for Curtis maniacally and unceasingly. He showed his affection in his customary way--he walked over to the sideline, punched her, and then went back to the game.

Good times were had by all.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Off to Preschool

Poor second child. With all the worries about Paige heading off on the bus to kindergarten, we barely paid any attention to the fact that Curtis was starting preschool this week.

Fortunately, there was less to worry about, given that Curtis has gone to that classroom for the past two years to drop Paige off. Traci says he walked in today, put on his name tag, and headed straight for the toys. No time to worry about Mom's tears when there's stuff to be played with.

Curtis also made his soccer debut last night. I met Traci and the kids at the soccer field, where he was to meet his coach and get his uniform. When he hopped out of the van, I was happy to see that he was already in one of Paige's old uniforms and his flip-flops. The first thing he said to me was, "I need my cleats, dad!"

"Alright, buddy. We're just here to get your jersey, so I don't think you'll need them right now."

Turns out he did need them. After the uniforms were distributed, the team had a short practice.We got his cleats on and he ran off to become an athlete.

He did pretty good for his first time. Dribbling the ball around the cones must have been pretty exhausting, since about every 30 seconds he would run over to me and say, "I need some more water, dad."

He also got a little distracted when the coach paired the kids up to practice passing. Here was the scene.

Curtis is paying attention. Oh, wait. His partner Beckham is filling up a cone with grass clippings. Now Beckham kicks it. But here comes a firetruck, so now Curtis can't concentrate. Curtis kicks it to Beckham but Beckham is sitting on the ground. Teamwork.

School, sport. Lots of big changes for our little guy.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

School: Day Two

Sending Paige off to school was emotionally exhausting. But we did it!

But here's what's whack. She had to go back again the next day! School is hard for parents.

Again on day two, Traci followed the bus over to school, just to make sure Paige was safely navigating the system. Traci kind of lurked in the shadows while Paige played on the playground before the bell rang. When it was time for the kids to line up and go to class, Traci made her appearance known.

"What are you doing here, mom?" Paige asked, as if to say, "Why are you here when I can clearly do this on my own?"

So, Paige is surviving just fine.

I don't know that Curtis is doing as well. I think he's a little jealous.

When Paige came home from school yesterday he asked, "Paige, how many recesses did you have today?"

"Three. Like I always do."

"Ask me how many recesses I had," he prodded.

"How many?"

"A hundred."

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The First Day of the Next Twelve Years

There were a lot of tears this morning as Paige prepared to go off to kindergarten. Fortunately, none were shed by Paige. (Despite the overcast morning, Traci had to wear her sunglasses as we walked to the bus.)

She got on to the bus like a champ. I walked up the steps with her, led her to an open bench, and gave her a kiss. Just like that, she went away to college kindergarten.

Traci and the boys followed Paige to school to make sure she got from the bus to the classroom. There she learned that the kids are dumped off at the playground until the bell rings.

She looked around for Paige, but couldn't spot her anywhere. She finally found her by herself, hidden among the throngs of big kids.

"I don't know where I'm supposed to go, Mom."

Traci's heart was instantly broken.

Only to finally be repaired when the bus eventually came back with a very happy five-year-old.

"We had THREE recesses!"

While mom and dad spend conjuring up the infinite of number of things that could go wrong, Paige was having the best day ever. How you beat three recesses?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Last Day as a Pre-K

Paige starts kindergarten tomorrow. In less than 24 hours, we will watch her ride off to school...on the bus...all alone.

She's excited. I'm the one who's having anxiety about it and waking up at 4:00 in the morning to feel sad.

Song of the Day: Streetlight Manifesto - One Foot on the Gas/One Foot in the Grave

Just about every day, I look at the thousands of songs on my iPod and think, "I don't want to listen to any of you."

Scrolling through the tracks this morning, somehow it just felt like a Streetlight Manifesto day.

I'm a sucker for both singer Tomas Kalnoky's clean voice and his raspy punk rock screaming, both of which get a little time on this one. Streetlight Manifesto is probably the only band in punk rock history who actually pull off five-plus minute songs.

P.S. If you can handle a few (well-placed) swears, my favorite track on this album is The Receiving End of It All.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Great Nature Experiment Continues On

Last year, I decided it was time to finally start enjoying the beauty of Utah. Yes, nature. Summer is almost over and we hadn't added to our hiking legacy. Until last night.

Again accompanied by my tour-guiding sister, we went up to Silver Lake at Brighton. Not really a hike, but perfect for a family with a little guy in a papoose.

The kids had a great time chasing the squirrels around, and the mosquitoes had a great time sucking our blood.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sometimes I Read Books

I just finished Tina Fey's Bossypants. It was a quick, enjoyable read. Much like 30 Rock beyond season two, it often made me smile but never laugh out loud.

I took the book to the ranch with me last weekend. My two nine-year-old nephews looked at the cover and were highly amused.

"That girl's got man arms."

"That's weird! That girl is a man!"

"Wow. Her arms are sooo big."

In other literary news, Traci recommended I read the The Hunger Games years ago. I finally got around to it, and knocked out the entire trilogy in a couple of weeks. I really enjoyed all three of them.

But you don't have to take my word for it...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Weezer v. Kermit the Frog

It didn't surprise me at all to see Weezer contributing a song to the upcoming Muppets movie soundtrack--it is called "The Green Album," after all.

I didn't, however, expect to see Alkaline Trio on the track list. Alas, the band who is usually inspired by death (and sometimes thinks I'm their stripper), offers up "Movin' Right Along." I was a little less surprised when I realized bassist Dan Andriano was doing the singing. He's always been a softy. He also has a new solo record out. It's pretty good. You can hear a couple of the songs on his Facebook page.

NPR is streaming the Green Album here.

Chubbin' Right Up

Tate is now four months old. He's still a skinny little dude, but he's starting to get a little bit of meat on his bones. He rolled over for the first time on Sunday. This was likely motivated by a desire to escape his evil siblings.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Are We There Yet?

Our kids love to go on vacation. But like all kids, they always forget that it takes time to get from our house to said vacation.

On our last trip to the ranch, Paige was asking "when will we get to the mountains" about 10 seconds after we pulled out of our driveway. When we got to the mouth of Parley's Canyon, I thought I'd point out that we had at least reached a change in scenery. "Paige," I said, "Do you see where we are?"

"Yes," she said excitedly. "Center lane rumble strip."

Nothing gets by our little reader.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tate's First Baseball Game

We finally made it to our first Bees game of the season. Surprisingly, it went better than I could have hoped for. Not only were we able to avoid standing in line for 45 minutes to ride the litte train from left field to right, but I actually got to watch a pretty good chunk of the game.

Somehow the kids stayed entertained. About every two seconds, Curtis asked me who was winning and Paige would see the batter's name on the jumbotron and then look up his picture in the program. (Next time, I'll teach her how to keep her own score card. That'll keep her busy.)

It was the bottom of the fifth inning before Paige decided she needed to sit on my lap, which of course made Curtis want to sit on my lap. Paige got off my lap and sat in Curtis' now-unoccupied seat, which caused him to yell at her, which made her grab him, which made him kick her in the face. (It felt like Sacrament meeting, but I was holding a hotdog instead of baggie of fishy crackers.)

All the while, Tate blew happy spit bubbles.

Couldn't ask for more.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Song of the Day: David Bazan - Won't Let Go

For much of his Pedro the Lion career, David Bazan used third person narrative for his tales of disception and infidelity. On his first solo full-length, he switched to first person and the songs were about losing his faith, becoming an alcoholic, and generally letting his wife and family down. Maybe that's why this love song to his wife feels so gripping.

Monday, August 15, 2011

I Hate Every Chimp I See, From Chimpan-A to Chimpan-Z


Though I have no intention of seeing the new Planet of the Apes movie, I am happy that it allows me to think about the Simpsons version of the story. (Thanks to Tim Gill for sending.) 

Man, I miss that Troy McClure.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Sutherlands Go Country

Best seat in the house.

It's nice when your little buddy's got your back.

 Fisherman Tate

We stopped by the Summit County parade in Coalville yesterday on our way up to our ranch. As we were listening to the country music playing over the PA speakers, I thought about what it would be like to live in a small town.

With his love of construction machinery and John Deere tractors, Curtis would be just fine. But what about Paige? With her catalog of knowledge about Daft Punk and Matt & Kim and her editorial opinions on the superiority of Weezer's Green Album over the more widely accepted Blue Album?
Sure, Traci could work at the local library. But what about me? I would only bring comedy, as the locals would likely be mildly amused (at first) by my utter lack of handyman-ery.

No, Coalville is not ready for the Sutherlands.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Might I Recommend: The One AM Radio

If you like midtempo, melancholy electronica (a la Hot Chip, Postal Service), you should probably give The One AM Radio a listen.

I interviewed the band a couple of week's ago. I got some of the most intelligent music-guy answers in recent memory. I guess the lead singer's Yale education paid off. You can read the full article here.

I love the slightly snarky response to this simplistic question:

ME: Is it a happy album?

HIRWAY: No, it’s not a happy album, but “happiness” and “sadness” rarely ever come to me in pure form. That’s one of the side effects of no longer being a teenager.


You may want to check out these tunes as well:

When You're Sleeping (YouTube)
Everyone But You (YouTube)

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Boy Named Goo

Have I ever revealed that I'm a closet Goo Goo Dolls fan? Well, now it's out there. If all goes well, I'm going to force Traci to go with me to watch them play under the stars at Deer Valley next week.

I interviewed Goo Goo bassist Robby Takac a couple of weeks ago. We talked a bit about Blink-182, the Rolling Stones, and the awkwardness of hearing your own song playing at the grocery store. You can check the story out here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Seven Degrees of Kirsten Dunst: My Connection to the Stars

It all started with the ESPYs. Justin Timberlake, who Traci looooves, handed Jimmer Fredette the award for Male College Athlete of the Year.

"I'm friends with Jimmer's sister and Jimmer's meeting Justin Timberlake," Traci exclaimed. "That's like two degrees of separation!"

Hmm. That got me thinking (all the way through Sunday School and halfway through Elders Quorum). How far removed am I from my favorite folks?

(I'm sure I could have gotten to some of these people a bit more directly, but I only have so much mental RAM on Sundays.)

John Elway
  • I met Steve Young at a seminary fireside in high school. (I also fluffed a dozen LoveSacs at his Park City cabin.)
  • Steve Young's San Francisco 49ers defeated John Elway's Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV (a fact that still saddens me).
The Beatles
  • I worked for Shawn Nelson at the LoveSac Corporation
  • He won a million bucks on Richard Branson's TV show "Rebel Billionaire"
  • Branson was knighted by the Queen of England,
  • Who knighted Paul McCartney,
  • Who was a Beatle

Michael Jackson
  • I interviewed Deron Williams for Utah Business Magazine
  • He and the Jazz always get beat by the Lakers and Kobe Bryant,
  • Who dunked on Michael Jordan in 1997,
  • Who was in the video for Michael Jackson's "Jam"
Kurt Cobain
  • I met Dave Grohl after the first ever Foo Fighters show in Salt Lake
  • Dave was, of course, the drummer of a little band called Nirvana
Kylie Minogue
  • I interview Anthony Wiggle of The Wiggles,
  • Who featured Kylie Minogue on their hit single "The Monkey Man" (Kyle was dubbed the Pink Wiggle)
Lauren Conrad

  • I've interviewed Alkaline Trio a few times
  • On one episode of The Hills, Audrina Patridge goes to the studio to watch the band record an album
  • Lauren Conrad shows up to the studio as well, but gets bored and decides to go get coffee with Lo.
Paris Hilton

  • My friend Chris Wilson played in Good Charlotte with those Madden twins
  • One of them dated Paris Hilton
Britney Spears

  • I interviewed Linkin Park recently,
  • Who was touring with the Prodigy,
  • Who was asked by Madonna to produce her record in the late '90s (they refused)
  • Madonna french kissed Britney Spears once
Barack Obama
  • Jon Hunstman came to Insurance a few years ago to celebrate our 25th anniversary
  • That made him want to move to China and work for Mr. Obama
Lady GaGa
  • I talked to Vanilla Ice on the phone a few years ago
  • He got all the royalties to "Ice, Ice Baby" shaken out of him by Suge Knight,
  • Who was Tupac's label owner,
  • Who was originally friends with Biggie Smalls,
  • Who was homies with Jay-Z,
  • Who's married to Beyonce,
  • Who recorded "Telephone" with Lady GaGa
Kirsten Dunst
  • I chatted with Death Cab drummer Jason McGerr the other day
  • He's in a band with Ben Gibbard,
  • Who married Zooey Deschanel,
  • Who was in Elf with Will Ferrell,
  • Who was in Megamind with Brad Pitt,
  • Who starred in Interview with a Vampire with Kirsten Dunst

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Morning Studio Session

It was pretty much like this (and like that and like this and uh)

I spent the morning at the recording studio. But alas, I was not laying down fat tracks. Instead, I was listening intently as the talent (that's a fancy word for the lady with the nice voice) recorded such exciting voicemail intros as "For claims and appeals, press 1."

Working at insurance is very glamorous.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Album Reviews: Elway, Rural Alberta Advantage, One AM Radio

I get choked up just thinking about this clip.


I’ll admit it. The only reason I checked out this Colorado band was because they’re named after my favorite Denver Broncos quarterback. The fact that the band delivers a solid debut album is just an added bonus. The strength of “Delusions” rests in its looseness. Elway churns out barroom punk rock in the vein of Hot Water Music or early Alkaline Trio, propelled by gruff vocals and catchy hooks. Though the record walks a path littered with broken hearts, the gang-vocal “whoa-oh-ohs” give an undeniable hope that everything is going to be okay. “Delusions” may not be wildly inventive, but still makes a great first impression.

For fans of: Lawrence Arms, Gaslight Anthem
Rating: 3 of 4
Check out: Passing Days (YouTube)
(And don't forget to watch the magical moment of "The Drive" by John Elway himself, shown above.)

Rural Alberta Advantage

A good band name should give a hint of what kind of music you play (see Megadeth, Sonic Youth, Geto Boys). True to its name, Rural Alberta Advantage gives off an earthy feel, but not in a Fleet Foxes, we-are-the-forest kind of way. “Departing” sounds more like a Bob Dylan record-- if he were to hole up in a cabin to make a dance record. The album is driven by a palpable tension between the vocals and the music--a singer who sounds like he should be accompanied by a banjo and a jaw harp, but instead fronts a band where the drums jump on the upbeat, xylophones plink joyously, and synthesizers sneak around in the background. It should be a mess, but somehow it makes perfect sense.

For fans of: Fleet Foxes, AA Bondy
Rating: 3 of 4
Check out: Under the Knife (YouTube)

The One AM Radio
Heaven Is Attached by a Slender Thread

Analog synths. Horns. Handclaps. “Heaven Is Attached by a Slender Thread” has all the makings of a typical dance record. But The One AM Radio doesn’t really do typical. Despite the upbeat ingredients, band leader Hrishikesh Hirway drenches the collection in lyrical melancholy. Somehow, the sadness just can’t compete with the persistent bounce. The album’s best track, “Plans,” ricochets off the walls like The Postal Service and “In a City without Seasons” feels like it was and conceived on the beach at sunset. There are brief moments with the music matches the solemnity of the message (see “The Heat”) but for the most part, despite his frowny face, Hirway can’t keep his feet from dancing.

For fans of: Hot Chip, Styrofoam
Rating: 3.5 of 4
Check out: Plans (YouTube)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Curtis Gets His First Tattoo

(Or view the video here.)

Much like with any tattoo, he regretted it just minutes later. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Song of the Day: The Naked and Famous - Young Blood

I'm a sucker for music that makes me feel like I am in high school, about to embark upon the most important night of my life.

This is ironic because in high school, the most important night of my life may have been the time Matt Slivka and I (the two un-muscle-i-est guys at MHS) decided to go to ShopKo and buy our first-ever wife beater tanktops and wear them around the SugarHouse Movies 9 on a cold January night.

How's that for a music video idea?

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Grilled Cheese Incident

Curtis. Always mildly disgusting.

Curtis refuses to eat grilled cheese sandwiches. He will, however, eat "boy cheese sandwiches."

Me: Who wants a grilled cheese?

Curtis: I don't want a girl cheese. I want a boy cheese sandwich.

Luckily, the recipes are pretty similar (I just have to mix in a few more monster trucks and construction vehicles.