These last few weeks have been...we'll call them challenging. I realize that everyone has challenging times, in their own way. It is interesting that I think we all tend to get so self-absorbed that somehow OUR challenges are unique and hard in such a way that NO ONE else can understand. Of course that isn't true, but that's how I've been feeling. Life really is good, but sometimes it is definitely difficult to remind yourself of that fact and remember it when you feel as if you were at the base of this.

Have a great Holiday Season. Be good, remember who you are and don't let it get you down.


Body Parts

A few weeks ago, Lisa was asked to speak at a Friday night Fireside with a visiting General Authority before she was released as the Stake Young Women's President. She spoke about unity and as usual was very insightful and did a wonderful job. Whenever she is asked to speak, her subject matter tends to be our topic of conversation until said talk is done. A couple of nights before the fireside, we were talking about the scripture in 1st Corinthians that states that we are all a part of the body of Christ, and and how everyone is different and contributes differently, just like the various parts of a body contribute to the whole. Then she turned towards me and said with a straight face, "And you're the butt cheek." At least I know where I stand . . . or maybe sit?


Consumer Chris strikes again

On Monday night I ran a few errands, got some groceries, and stopped by Blockbuster to get a movie for family night. Lisa has been wanting to see this new documentary, Babies, and I was hoping to be able to surprise her with it. 6pm on Monday is a slow time for Blockbuster, as there was only one employee (whom we will call Dufus) and one other customer in the store. I walked around looking for the show, couldn't find it, so went and stood in line to talk to Dufus and ask to see if it was in and I was just dumb and not able to find it. He finished with the other customer, but before I could ask him anything, the phone rang. He answered it and was like, "oh dude, yeah, I was totally going to call you..." No exaggerations or Packer factor going on here. He held up his pointer finger to me, which I took to mean that he would be just a minute. No problem. I listened to a good five minutes of Dufus talking on the phone with his friend about all sorts of stuff, and hope and pray that I never sounded that dumb (I know I did, my family will attest to it, but I was 12). I tried to butt into his phone call to ask if they had the movie, and he got this annoyed look on his face, put the phone on his shoulder and said, "Hey man, I'm on the phone." I apologized, pulled out my phone and dialed the manager's number that was prominently displayed on a sign at the front of the store, asking for customer feedback. No one answered and so I proceeded to leave a message with my name, number, and citing that Dufus was standing right in front of me and that he refused to help and was talking on the company phone with friends. Then I hung up. So did Dufus. He wasn't happy. At all. That's OK, neither was I. He wanted me to call the manager again and take back what I said, I wanted him to look up the movie for me. Again I learned that life isn't fair. Neither of us got what we wanted.


Opposite World

I've decided that I live in a parallel dimension that looks like ours, but does not function like it is supposed to. Since becoming a foster parent, I've learned lots about life, from which I had previously been sheltered. PFC (Pre Foster Care) everything worked properly. People did what they said they would. The law was on my side. The world made sense. I've now entered one of Calvin's opposite zones, where all is not as it appears.

AFC (no this is not football related, surprisingly enough, AFC = After Foster Care), I think I find myself like the above cartoon. If only my problems could be solved thanks to a 1-hour photo developer. It doesn't matter what kind of a parent bio-mom is, she just has to meet minimum requirements. Government funded housing. Food stamps. Public Assistance. Quick disclaimer. I'm not knocking any of these programs, because there is a need for them. That being said, I think they are being abused left and right and there is a lot of work that needs to be done with the welfare system of this country, but that is a different discussion. It is my thought that bio-mom should be able to take care of herself before being asked to take care of someone else, especially a little someone else. In this, our judicial system (and overall our government) disagree. In their mind, they can take care of someone who is then able to take care of someone else. They obviously don't know who Captain Moroni is, or what his thoughts are on the matter.
The other beef I have is that as much as we were told that doing Foster Care is all about the children and helping them, they fed us a line of male cow manure. We are really the only advocates for little fat, and we have the power of maybe a well aimed burp (or possibly even some good old Dad, early morning, going antelope hunting, windows rolled up because of the cold, onion....you get the idea). Everyone else is about the process and meeting mom's needs. Under the law, the child has no rights, as it is assumed that the best interests of the child will be looked after by the parents. In the ideal world, I would agree with that statement. Last time I checked, we weren't living in the ideal world. Don't get me wrong, mom is worthy of help, everyone is. But at what point do you continue to help and push for mom's rights even though it hurts someone else's? I recognize that that is a rather difficult line to draw in the sand and am fairly biased right now.
I've reached the conclusion that my parents were right all those years ago when I would throw a tantrum at something and decide that it wasn't fair. Their response? Life isn't fair. Sorry to burst your bubble if you didn't know that already. Maybe I should have put up a little spoiler alert for those of you still reading and thinking that life turns out exactly how you want it to. oops.
Not to leave you all with the impression that I'm so far down in the dumps that I can't see the good things around me; I do have a wonderful family...that I don't get to see because I'm still working all day everyday. For those of you saying I should be grateful to have a job, I am, I just wish that since they are expecting me to work twice as much, they should pay me twice as much. That would be an ideal world.


Go Pokes

That blessed time of year has arrived. Go Pokes.


August...die she must

Summer is slowly fading, and life as we know is about to get better (thank you college football, crisp air, apple pies, pumpkins and fall leaves). This last month has passed too quickly, but not without good adventures. Little Fat started crawling and refusing to take his bottle unless he was fed a higher quality of food first, such as mashed bananas.

We took the little nipper on his first overnight camping experience as well as hiking in Stony Brook State Park to see the local scenery. I think he did better than both Lisa and I, however, no one was carrying us and he had much more padding for a bed than we did.

Stony Brook

Bobo along for the ride

he was so tired he left a good mark on his face from the pack

Out Cold

We also went to a Rochester Redwings game to eat Simply Crepes and enjoy a perfect evening out. Bubba really liked the game and got pretty excited at everything going on around him, but still managed to take a nap halfway through.

Frontier Field

I've been really busy trying to finish up a quality project at work. It has seriously made me an absentee father/husband, working 12-13 hours a day. Lisa has been great in picking up my slack though and doing everything. It has also been fun to see the slobber monster grow. Not only is he able to produce copious amounts of saliva at the drop of a hat, he is mobile enough to spread the love all around the house. He has a hard time sitting still and really doesn't care too much for his toys, he is much more interested in what you have. The best part is that when he gets really excited, he does the most amazing impression of squealing like a girl. That's my boy. Talented.



I like dumb jokes. They make me laugh. I was in Lowe's the other day and this older gentleman that was working there asked if I needed some help and then asked if I would like to hear a joke. Here's what he told me.

"The receptionist at a dentist's office interrupted the dentist while working on a patient and said 'Dr. Smith, there's an invisible man in the waiting room that is very insistent on seeing you right away!' The dentist replied, saying 'well you'll just have to tell him that I can't see him!'"

I laughed all the way home.


hello world

Sometimes it's amazing to me to think that in spite of my lack of blogging, the world still goes on. Wow. Here are the top ten tidbits of knowledge and priceless wisdom that I have managed to add to my arsenal in the last several weeks since you have last heard from me.

1. No matter how you try and plan for things, life has a way of throwing you for a loop. There is so much that I have no control over whatsoever, and that is more than just a little bit frustrating.

2. Little Fat has the best schedule ever. He eats, he plays, he sleeps, he plays, he eats, he plays, etc... I'm jealous.

3. After getting recycled baby food all over me, pulling out mystery gunk from the drain is no big deal. Yeah, I'm cool.

4. I've yet to master a balance between work, church, myself, and my family. Anyone have any answers?

5. No matter how bad your day, when your kid gives you a lopsided grin and grabs at your face when you see him and pick him up, life is good. As my older sister would say, big cheesy sandwich.

6. Life is happier in the spring and summer. New life blooming is contagious.

7. An entire nights sleep, uninterrupted, is priceless.

8. It seems that there is always going to be something to look forward to, but enjoying the here and right now is also a good thing to take part in.

9. There is nothing like fresh, homemade salsa. Yummy.

10. Life is good.

I know. Surprising knowledge. Take it for what it is worth, and remember to smile.


Explosion at 36,000 feet

The title is slightly misleading. This isn't about an action/adventure flick, although there is some action and adventure, both of which were quite dirty.

This last week we traveled to Laramie to witness one of life's great events, a UW graduation. Lisa's youngest sister, Erica, was graduating and most of her family was going to be in attendance. Thanks to the recent addition to our family, we were deemed worthy of an invitation to the occasion. The real action/adventure occurred as we were high over the heartland of America, traveling from Newark (hidden jewel of the East) to Denver. His royal fatness was busy being as cute as normal when suddenly an aroma akin to the south end of a north bound skunk was detected wafting through the cabin. Upon further review, the stench was found to be coming from Bobo's hinder parts. Yeah.

I drew the short straw and got to wedge myself into the bathroom and change stinky pants. That is when the main action/adventure took place. Out the back. Up the front. Out the sides. Greenish/brownish/yellow sludge oozing from places that shouldn't be oozing. All over. Literally. Awesome. 45 minutes later, he was clean, I was dirty and we managed to squeeze out of the bathroom and back into our seats. Adventure over for the time being. Unfortunately, little fat got a little sick and shot liquid gross out of both ends all weekend long.

The trip was a success. We got to see family and friends and enjoy the wonderfulness that is Wyoming. And more importantly, on a scale of 1 to 10 in the traveling department, Capo got a solid 9.5 out of 10, being docked points solely for the incident mentioned above. Really though, how can you hold such disgustingness against a face like this?

And just because he's styling, here's the little flirt again.



Sometimes, life is blue.


ci si va avanti

I sometimes feel that in order to post something on my blog, something special or amazing needs to happen. It's a good thing that my life is fairly extraordinary and has allowed me to post so many amazing things up until now. I actually do think that my life is rather ordinary and am thankful for that. I am grateful for the ordinary boringness of daily life. I find that I do better with a schedule and although I do sometimes get tired of the same old routine of work, family, church and little bit of other things thrown in there for some added spice, I like it. It's like one of your favorite dishes. There's a reason you eat it a lot, that's because it tastes good. That is how life has been lately. Just good routine. Going to work, which has been busy because I took a new job with lots of new responsibility, but that has been challenging and new and even fun. Church is also good, Lisa and I have been serving in the same callings for the last three years, which is the longest either of us had ever served in one calling. It has been good for the both of us and forced us (or maybe given us the opportunity) to stretch some to serve in those callings. Family life has been quite great lately. I think that I'm naturally a homebody and just like to be at home, so throw in my wonderful, amazingly talented and gorgeous wife and a little bundle of smiles, diapers, and puke, and it makes it more difficult to want to go and do anything else. Life is good. Boring and normal is great. Nice.


lessons learned & gratitude

It's been two weeks since we got the call to pick up our little guy. Oh, how much our life has changed in that time. For starters, my TV viewing has drastically declined, while my baby viewing has increased exponentially. I'd also like to think that as a fledgling father of uncertain duration, I have added a few new abilities to my meager skill set. Those of you much more versed in the child raising process might not even give a second thought to some of my recently accrued knowledge, but I find it valuable for the time being.

Lesson #1: Wake a sleeping baby only at your peril, especially from a deep sleep. This ranks up there on a badness scale of actually believing your wife when you ask what is wrong and she says, "nothing."

Lesson #2: A baby can take a simple thing, such as milk and turn it into a monstrously disgusting tidal wave of green sludge that explodes from the diaper to cling to every little fold of baby skin. If you smell something funny, hand the baby off.

Lesson #3: The baby sleeps when you are awake and wants to be awake when you want to sleep. I had heard this for a long time, but it is one of those cases where the reality of it is a lot harder than the theory.

Lesson #4: I have a wife? I know that there is another person that lives in our house and helps to take care of the baby, but our interaction doesn't go to much beyond that. How do you find that balance between, baby, husband/wife, work, personal time? Or are husband/wife and personal time a thing of the past at this point?

Lesson #5: The amount of projectile vomiting is proportional to the number of burp clothes and items of clean clothing available to the baby. If one burp cloth is within reach and everything else is in the laundry, then the baby will produce enough regurgitated formula to cover approximately half of a football field. Truly one of science's many mysteries.

My other thoughts right now run towards gratitude and humility. We have seen an amazing outpouring of love from so many people it is truly amazing. From people at church feeding us for more than a week, to people at work donating money to help as well as food and gift cards. I've never been the recipient of service like this, and it has been surreal. We are surrounded by ministering angels.

The whole process is somewhat frustrating for me in that I have no control whatsoever over the situation and I struggle with that. I do however take great comfort and strength from all the prayers offered on our (and more importantly the little guy's) behalf. Thank you and I would hope that you would continue to keep us in your prayers.


and then there were three.......and no sleep

Yesterday was quite the day. I was minding my own business, working diligently in my office, when my phone rang. I'm making this sound quite ominous aren't I? It was foster care calling and they said that they had a four week old boy coming into care either that night or the following day and wanted to know if we would be willing to take him. After extracting my heart from my throat I said I'd call my wife and call them right back. This was actually our second call, from foster care. About a month ago we got a call asking us to take in two children and neither of us felt good about it, so we said no. As we talked on the phone yesterday, we both felt pretty good about everything, we said a little prayer over the phone, still felt good, so we decided to take the plunge. I called back, said yes, we'd love to take the little grunt in, what was the plan? The plan was they were still out looking for him and that they would let us know as soon as they could whether it would be the same day or the next for pick-up (sounds like a pizza delivery). At about 4pm, I got the call saying the baby was in and that they closed at 5pm so we needed to get going to pick him up. Both Lisa and I ran home, pulled out the car seat that we had purchased about two months ago and Lisa drove to the drop-off (again, sounds so un-baby like) while I fiddled around in the back seat trying to become smarter than the car seat (more difficult than you might think...maybe not for those of you who know me well). The pick-up was the best part, it was like curb side to go. I called when we were about ten minutes away and said we'd be there right at 5pm. The caseworker said she would come downstairs with the baby and meet us as we drove up. We drove up to the curb, she walked out with a tiny little baby

Here's the captain

and a couple of garbage bags of formula, clothes and diapers, and we were off, both of us wondering how that had just happened. To make a long story short, we spent the rest of the evening (and most of the night) staring at this strange little being that has entered into our home at least for a few weeks.

Is this for real?!?!

Very strange. But also very good. We'll call him the captain, since he is already in charge of everything and running our lives. I think that we'd gladly keep him forever, but we'll see what happens. Life is good, if a little more tiring than it was a day ago.

Lisa has a new target for her camera, Captain beware.


Shallow Chris

While we were out and about in the bubble for the celebration of the coming together of two families through wedded bliss this last Christmas, I went and watched Avatar in 3D with my dad, brother, brother-in-law and nephews. We thought it was great. What an amazing science fiction adventure on another planet with great effects and technology to make it all work. I liked it so much that when we got back to Rochacha, I took Lisa. She even liked it. Recently, I have seen several posts and reviews slamming the show for it's anti-American rhetoric. It mostly had to do with portraying the awful soldiers who embodied the death and destruction of their home planet earth as American Marines. I was a little confused and felt a little dumb maybe, because to be honest with you, that thought never crossed my mind. It is quite possible that I'm a little simple in that I don't think too deeply, especially when entertainment is involved. If there are hidden agendas and messages, they are lost on me, because as my wife could tell you, if you don't club me over the head with what you want me to know, it just won't sink in.

Is this how I come across???

This also made me think of The Golden Compass that came out about a year or so ago and how it caused an uproar among the conservative Christian groups because the author of the books upon which the movie is based is a professed atheist and wants nothing more than to spread his vile message of we are all alone-ism, there is no god belief (according to those groups). I have two thoughts about this, the first being, I read the books and really liked them. I never got any whiff of anti-God feelings in the books at all. The basic story line is good vs. evil, with the evil appearing mostly in the form or the Magisterium, or church. That means he hates god and wants us all to feel the same way? Does that mean that books like The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons are awful and fuel for the atheist bandwagon because the tend to put the Catholic church in a bad light? I don't think so. Again, this could be another case of Chris being too shallow to pick up on those subtle clues that don't just jump right out and announce themselves with banners and neon lights. So the second thought I had was, OK, if he has an agenda to spread his message of science over religion....who cares? I spent two years working to bring religion to people and don't I believe that others are free to act according to their beliefs and even try and convert others to their beliefs? If you don't want to watch it/read it, don't. When people didn't want to listen to me in Italy, they didn't. Fairly simple.

Since I am confessing my simpleness and some of the things that I have enjoyed entertainment wise, I guess I should lay it out there that I have read a series of books involving dark evil magic, full of witches and wizards and even children. I think the most atrocious thing though is that the children even performed magic. I know. Horrendous. But even worse......I liked them. Maybe there's a support group for that. Has anyone heard of HPA? Harry Potter Anonymous?

The point of all of this silliness is that I think you find what you looking for. If you are looking to be offended, you will be. If you are looking for the bad, you'll find it. That is all.


the famcation...

The happy new couple

We took a big break over Christmas to travel and be with family. It was fun, but we are in desperate need of a vacation from our vacation. We flew into the middle of the bubble and spent three days running around like crazy getting ready for Katie's wedding.

Temple Square

We did get the chance to visit with family and try and get to know our new brother-in-law, Jameson amidst the madness of pre-wedding hoopla and craziness. Anyway, they got married. Most importantly, centerpieces were made, food and flowers came together and there was dancing. Yeah.

The whole gang

After the wedding, our traveling adventure took us to the great state of Wyoming. It was good to be back in the homeland, where it's so incredibly cold in the winter that it makes your boogers (or dried nasal mucus according to wikipedia) freeze the instant you step outside. We went up with the entire Faerber family to Louis Lake and stayed in the cabins for a few days over Christmas.

Penelope, crazy sledder

It got even colder when we got up to 9000 feet, but we had lots of fun in the form of eating, sledding, eating, snow-mobiling, eating, reading, talking, snow-shoeing, eating, cutting down 30 foot Christmas trees and eating. We had fun.

Dutch oven turkey and stuffing in sub-zero weather