Monday, May 19, 2008

Jumpin' Time

Saturday was Jackson's 4th birthday. I want to say I can't believe our baby is four, but now he's not the baby any more. But it's hard to believe he's getting so big. Well for his birthday and for the family, we bought a trampoline. I got it on Friday night and Saturday morning my dad help me put it together after tennis (my team won both sets this week :-). It was not to difficult to put together at all, and we had a lot of fun with it.

The kids have always loved them and always want to go to the neighbor two houses down to jump. Now they can wear themselves out at our own house. It's a good amount of exercise. We had a family birthday party/cookout for Jackson, so his cousins and aunts and uncles were over and they jumped all afternoon. Grant and I even played a game were we had our older brother throwing us a frisbee and seeing who could catch it more often. Not the safest of games but a blast and a good work out. So here's some pictures of the kids and I on the trampoline that Tara took, and a video too.

I'll post some more pictures of Grace soon too. She fell asleep during her "tummy time" (as Tara calls it) on our bed, and we were trying to wake her up and I got her holding my finger while she was asleep and we got a cute picture of that, so I'll post it soon, after I get it off the camera. The picture below of Carter and Jackson with another boy, that boy is Braden Baxter, a friend of Jacksons. It was hilarious, I got the camera out for opening presents and he took on look of it and got right in front of me with this same smile on his face. Then I got Carter and Jackson to turn around and smile and took that picture.

Mark







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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Real High Speed

I got the 8.0 high speed from Comcast installed today. I've had BellSouth FastConnect Ultra for a while which is just 1.5 Mbps for 3 years now and they still haven't offered the 6.0 in my area, so I decided to switch. The upload speed was awful, especially since I large files for work quite often. Here's the AT&T results:



Here's the first test results with the Comcast high speed:



Woo Hoo! Can't wait for the next time I need to post a large file, or download something large. I think I'll go download some big file now....

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Belated Mother's Day!

I wanted to post this yesterday, but never got enough time. Yesterday morning, I was reading the Conference Issue of the Ensign in the morning before Church. Since it was Mother's Day, I thought that I'd search by topic for motherhood and see what I could find. I saw all of the Saturday and Sunday Morning sessions, but only parts of the afternoon sessions each time. I only saw Pres. Monson's talk on the Sunday afternoon session, so I'd missed Elder M. Russell Ballard's excellent talk on Motherhood. I read that on Sunday, and it was excellent.

He talks about the divine nature of Motherhood and that "there is no role in life more essential and more eternal than that of motherhood." He then goes to talk about things that: 1) Mothers can do to reduce pressure and enjoy their families more 2) What a husband can do to support his wife, the mother of their children and 3) What children, even young children, can do to help their mother. With each topic he gives great counsel on understanding the role of the mother in the home and the support that she should receive from the other in the home and how our families can be blessed by following this counsel. The talk is really excellent. Two excerpts that I really enjoyed:

"Author Anna Quindlen reminds us not to rush past the fleeting moments. She said: 'The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make. . . . I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, capture only in photographs. . . . I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.'"

"Families need unstructured time when relationships can deepen and real parenting can take place. Take time to listen, to laugh and play together."

"[S]how extra appreciation and give more validation for what your wife does every day. Notice things and say thank you--often. Schedule some evenings together, just for the two of you."

"[H]ave regular time to talk with your wife about each child's needs and what you can do to help."

The talk is really excellent and you can find the full text of the talk at the links below.

Daugthers of God
Elder M. Russell Ballard
April 2008 General Conference, Sunday Afternoon Session
Text  Audio  Video

So I hope all you mothers out there had a great Mother's day. You deserve it. I know that Tara and I are always grateful for our mothers, and I'm extremely grateful for the mother that Tara is.

Mark

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Bathtime


Just a quick picture of Grace right after a bath. One of the first really good pictures we've got with her eyes wide open.

Go Hawks?!

OK, just a few sports thoughts. I grew up in Florida, but grew up a Braves fan because they were the closest pro baseball team and they were always on TBS. However, I didn't really follow the Hawks. Now that I live in ATL, it's impossible not to follow the Hawks a little since they're on TV and in the papers. I have to say I was quite impressed and enjoyed watching them and they may have gained a new fan. They got really close to pulling off the biggest upset in playoff history. They forced a game seven agains a Celtics team that took 35 games to lose their third game of the season. The Hawks won 3 of 4 to force a game seven. I didn't expect them to win today, and they did get obliterated, but kudos to them for performing so well against a very good, veteran team.

Also of note, the Braves have been a bit injury decimated including Mr Glass, who is injured again while trying to recover from an injury. The guy has surpased Grant Hill and Penny Hardaway for the most injury prone players I've ever seen. Smoltz is out injured even though he was pitching awesome and it looks like he'll come back in the bullpen, which I'm actually quite excited about. Chipper Jones has been unbelievable this year so far. This guy has another couple of seasons like this and I think that he's a sure fire first ballot hall of famer, if he's not already.

I'm playing Fantasy Baseball with some people I used to work with, and I invited Brian Johnson. We're both having awesome weeks this week, but I'm enjoying it more than I ever have with Fantasy Baseball I think because I have someone nearby to talk to about it regularly, same reason I enjoyed fantasy basketball with Grant a few years ago.

One more NBA playoff comment, I was wondering if you might see a Hawks player mysteriously injured, or some questionable calls as David Stern tries to sway the outcome of the playoffs toward a LA-Boston final :-) Just an interesting conspiracy theory.

Mark

Friday, May 2, 2008

A little bit of code...

OK, if you have no interest in software programming, this will mean nothing to you, but this is what I do every day. For those who don’t know, I’m a software engineer and have a degree in computer science from BYU. Primarily what I do each day is develop web applications for companies using ASP.NET with C# that implement a certain workflow to perform document assembly with our software called HotDocs. So I thought I’d post a little info about some sites I find as useful resources when I’m trying to figure out how to do something or need a good example. So you coders out there, some of these are ones you might know and maybe some you don’t, feel free to share some of your favs as well.

MSDN Library – OK, this is dumb to post, but if you’re programming in .NET and not using this as a resource, then what are you thinking? The MSDN has a lot of coverage, but not always the greatest examples or descriptions of how to accomplish some things. But if you want a description of a class, method or property, this is the place to go.

The Code Project – This is a really good resource. They have a lot different categories and a lot of information on .NET. It is articles submitted by various users, free to join and the articles are rated, and I find the ratings to be a pretty good judge of how well-formed and useful the information might be.

W3 Schools – This one is kind of entry level, so you’re not going to get complex examples, but when you haven’t worked with a technology for a while or have forgotten some basic, this is a great resource. It’s some pretty solid documentation, and thought I haven’t used it for such, might be an easy way to learn a technology if you don’t know anything about it.

CodeGuru – I don’t use this one too much because I find the ones above a bit more reliable, but another free to join site with content submitted by users.

And a couple of blogs that I’ve run across that I’ve enjoyed:

ScottGu – This is Scott Guthrie’s blog. He’s a VP at Microsoft and does a lot of articles in the MSDN magazine and talks at a lot of the conferences. He’s pretty creative and has some good examples, especially early on of technology in development.

MattBerseth.com – This is just a blog I ran across recently as I’ve been getting into LINQ to SQL (which I’m really enjoying). He’s got some interesting posts and always has simple clear examples. He’s got some creative User Interface stuff, which is what I enjoy.

Well that’s it for now. On my next tech post, I think I’ll talk a little about LINQ to SQL, since that’s what I’m immersing myself in now.

Mark

Thursday, May 1, 2008

More Pictures of Grace

Some more pictures. Here's some more pictures, as promised. The ones with the children are cute. I liked the one with Hallie, she's going to be such a helper. The one with Jackson and Carter is they each had a turn with Grace laying in the bed while they had books read to them during bedtime. So they each pretended to be asleep for the picture. The one with me I posted because that's my favorite thing with a baby, is when I get it to go to sleep cuddled up on my chest. Definitely one of my favorite things about having a baby and I miss it when they get too big to do it anymore.


Also, one video clip of Jackson singing to Grace. When she cries, he sings to her. Sometimes it actually calms her down. I've always sang to the children, so I think they picked that up really well. It's very sweet.

Mark








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