Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Trouble with Owning Boys

Is there such a thing as glass insurance? If so, it's probably time for the Sutherlands to buy a policy.

Six days after the back window of our minivan was broken by a rock that (conveniently) neither of boys remembering throwing, this happened:

I was talking to Traci on the phone on my way home from work. I had just asked her what was going on at home. 

"I'm cleaning the bathroom and Tate is 'helping' me," she said. 

The best part of our new house is the big tub. (When we were looking at houses, my only requirement was that it have a big tub.) The next best thing is the big shower with the fancy sprayers that I haven't figured out how to work yet. 

"Cool," I replied. "Well, I'll be home in a couple of — "

"Tate, stop doing that. Tate! I said STOP! DOING! THAT!"


"I've got to go. Tate just slammed the shower door shut and the entire thing has completely shattered."

She wasn't exaggerating.

When I got home, the entire bathroom was covered with tiny pieces of glass.


It took two days to get the guy out to measure for new glass. It took another threes week for them to come back to replace it. And, of course, it took $300 to get them to leave again.

So, in the span of less than a week, we shelled out $600 in glass repair.

But it's not all bad news.

The mystery of the broken van window has been solved! The other day I asked Tate about it again, just to see if would spill the beans.

"It was a rock," he admitted, "that fell from space."

Aliens. I knew it!

Case closed. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

We're. The. Best. M-H-S!

Last night, I went to my first high school football game since 1997. 

I've been telling myself for the last few years that I wanted to go to a game, it just never happened. It was homecoming, which seemed like as good an excuse an to break my 18-year Spartan football fast. 

We took the whole family and, despite the fact the boys said they WERE NOT cheering for Murray, everyone had a good time. (Curt and Tate have also told me they hate Real Salt Lake, the Utes, the Jazz, the Bees, and the Broncos. Fun.) 

A few random thoughts from the game: 
  1. Despite going to just about every home game from the ages of 14-17, I don't think I ever actually watched a game. I remember playing in the pep band my sophomore year. I remember getting in a fight behind the bleachers in junior high (luckily my buddy Ben actually knew how to fight). And I remember spending every other minute trying to look cool for girls. 
  2. Watching the game takes way less work than looking cool for girls. 
  3. You couldn't ask for a more beautiful backdrop for a football game than the Wasatch mountains. 
  4. I doesn't seem like high school was that long ago. But it was literally half a lifetime ago. I'm not a kid anymore. 
  5. I sat behind a high school buddy, two years my senior, who has a kid in high school. That makes me feel very old. 
  6. Kids in high school are kids. I don't remember being a kid in high school. Maybe I was just very mature. 
  7. I like Murray. Traci loves Murray. Though there have been times I wanted to be as far away from my hometown as humanly possible, it's a great place to live. It was nice to see so many familiar faces--former classmates, teachers, neighbors. Kinda felt like we belonged there. We certainly had the chance to move back to Murray. We chose not to. I think Traci regrets it.  
  8. Donuts are only $1 at the concession stand. But if you wait 'til the third quarter to buy one, they're long gone. 
At this pace, my next MHS football game will be in 2033. I'll be 53. 


A perfect night for kickball, soccer, football, baseball, and Sloppy Joes with the Koot crew. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Church for Curtis

Curtis had it easy. As opposed to Paige, he didn't have to worry about finding friends in our new ward because one of his school buddies lives in the neighborhood.

Church - Week 1

When it was time for primary, his buddy came over and whisked him off to class. When we saw Curtis afterword, he was all smiles--a rare occurrence for our grumpy little guy.

For Traci and me, this came as a huge sigh of relief. Curtis does not like change. When we were looking at new houses, he wouldn't even get out of the car because he was NOT GOING TO MOVE! 

Church - Week 4

It was Tate's turn to say the opening prayer and Traci and I were in the primary room to watch. From the back of the room, I could hear one member of the primary presidency say to another, "Whisper, whisper, Curtis Sutherland, whisper, whisper."


Tate said the prayer and Traci and I stood up to leave, when Curtis was escorted into the room, followed by the woman from the presidency. She brought him up to the front of the primary and said, "This is Curtis. We actually put him in the wrong class. He was in CTR 8, when he should have been in CTR 7. Whoops. That means he'll be here in the Junior primary, instead of the Senior primary."


Church classes are assigned by age, based on a calendar year--not a school year. His friend has a September birthday, but Curtis' birthday isn't until April. To make things worse, the junior primary goes through age seven, so not only would Curtis be leaving his friend's class, he'd be dropping out of the senior primary entirely.

Traci and I walked over to him after he took a seat by his new class.

"Hey, buddy. Are you okay?"

He looked up at me with big tears welling up in his eyes.

"No," he said quietly.

Which kind of broke our hearts.


After church, I was expecting to see a similarly downtrodden Curtis. I was shocked by what I saw.

A happy boy.

"I'm the tallest kid in the whole junior primary!" he said.

And that was that.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Football with Dad

The best part about the Utes game? Hanging out with this guy. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Church for Paige

One of our biggest reasons for moving to a new house to was to be in an area with more kids. Traci really wanted Paige to have the same experience that she had growing up, where there were tons of girls in neighborhood to play with.

It might not be exactly like that here.

Church - Week One

We sent Paige off to her primary class, with our fingers crossed that she would meet her next best-friend-for-life.

"Paige," we asked her after church, "How many girls were in your class?"

There was good news and bad.

Bad: There was just one girl. (Plus a couple more who were out of town.)

Good: It was a girl she recognized from her Up with Kids group and they instantly got along with each other.

Sure, we'd love to have more kids around. But if you find one best friend, that's all that matters, right?

Everyone was happy.

Church - Week Three

I'm sitting in Elders Quorum, waiting for class to start. I'm listening to the chatter in the room when I hear, "So, I hear you're moving, huh?"

"Yeah, the house sold in one day. We're heading out in about three weeks."

Wait a second, I know that guy, I thought. That's...that's....that's the dad of the girl in Paige's class. Noooooooo!!!!!

Everyone was sad.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Slowly Going the Way of the Buffalo

Traci and I have lived our entire lives in Utah and have never visited Antelope Island. Today felt like as good a day as any to change that.

The only thing we really knew about the state park is that it's where the buffalo roam (and of course where the deer and antelope play). Our first stop was the visitors center where we also learned that you shouldn't bother the bison. If you do, especially while they're eating, they're likely to charge at you at up to 40 miles per hour.

We hadn't been out of the visitor center for more than a minute when we saw our first bison. He was in the grass eating. A guy with a camera decided he needed a closer look and kept walking ever closer until he was only about 20 feet away. The bison didn't take too kindly to the intrusion and started to charge.

That was enough to put the photographer into a full sprint back to his car. The bison returned to his lunch.

We ate our lunch at picnic bench overlooking the Great Salt Lake. We then braved the brine shrimp (and the accompanying smell, which luckily was much less pungent than on the Saltair side of the lake) and ventured out to the water. We weren't dressed to get into the lake (and I'm not sure if I would have wanted to anyway; swimming in the Great Salt Lake is another Utah thing I've never done, but that can wait for another day) but the boys had fun chucking rocks into it.

After the lake, we headed to the other side of the island, where we were excited to see dozens of bisons. 

And then hundreds.

Pretty cool that you can be just miles away from the city and feel like you're in a completely different world.

Along the way, we passed the park restaurant that featured bison burgers. It seemed odd to eat the animal you'd come to the park to admire, but what do I know about nature?

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Vanity Plates

On our afternoon walk, Tate says to me, "When I'm old enough to get a car, I'm gonna get a license plate that says 'Toots are awesome!'"