Sunday, September 21, 2014

#133: How to Get a Free Ancestry.com Account (for LDS Church Members).

In February of this year, I remember hearing an exciting announcement that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints had entered into partnerships with ancestry.com, findmypast.com, and myheritage.com to provide free premium memberships for all members of the church. This is a pretty big deal since premium memberships to those sites range in the $200 - $400 range per year. I previously had a paid membership to ancestry.com, which in my opinion, is the greatest website in the world for genealogists/family historians. It literally has billions (with a b) of historical records scanned and indexed for easy searching.

When I heard the announcement, I was very eager to cancel my current paid Ancestry membership and get started with a free membership instead (as well as new memberships to Findmypast and Myheritage). However, since February I haven't heard any updates about it.

Well, today I decided to do some searching and found that it is really easy to get your free accounts. Simply go to familysearch.org/partneraccess and you can create a free account to each of the three websites! It takes a mere matter of minutes. Happy searching!
familysearch.org/partneraccess

Sunday, August 3, 2014

#132: Stuff to Do While Pregnant.

Okay, so the title of this post is a little misleading. Technically, I'm not pregnant, but my best friend is. So, I guess instead it should have read, "Stuff to Do While Pregnant or While Being Married to Someone Who Is Pregnant", but that is really quite wordy, so I opted for the shorter and slightly misleading title instead.

Anyway, without further ado, here are pictures of some stuff to do while pregnant or while being married to someone who is pregnant.
Pose for baby shower invitations
(make sure to remove the background hose with Photoshop).
Take a nap with your favorite dog.
Take a nap with your favorite new niece.
Have a family reunion and visit cool Mormon places.
Have a family reunion and visit cool non-Mormon places.
Have a family reunion and play Minute to Win-It games.
I was SO CLOSE to stacking that third dice (di?)!
Have a family reunion and shake what yo' mama gave ya.
Have a family reunion and play cornhole for hours in the yard.
Bake homemade bread.
Decorate your new nursery.
Hang out with Shauna Lake...and that other guy she works with. 
Hang out with a bird on a pier.
Follow your cravings.
Register for baby stuff at Target and pretend you work for the FBI.
Register for baby stuff at Target and pretend you are Queen Amidala.
Get awesome Star Wars stuff at your baby shower.
Pose in front of flowers.
Pose in front of a temple.
Pose in front of another temple.
Pose in front of Carlo's Bake Shop.
Last but not least, pose in front of the beach.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

#131: On the Lord's Errand: The Life of Thomas S. Monson.

This afternoon while Diane took a Sunday nap, I decided to start poking out the plastic holes from the new 320-slot movie case I bought from Amazon. I love to be organized, and I relished the thought of having every movie we own in proper genre order all in one big case (between the DVD and Blu-Ray versions of Star Wars alone, it totals 18 discs! Don't even get me started on the Lord of the Rings).
The biggest movie case I could find.
After poking out the first 6 plastic holes, I realized that this was going to be painfully boring. So, to make the poking more bearable, I decided to see what video features were on lds.org to help me pass the time. I stumbled across an hour-long video titled "On the Lord's Errand: The Life of Thomas S. Monson". The video was produced in conjunction with President Monson being called as the sixteenth president of the Church in 2008. See below for the YouTube version direct link, as well.

Well, after watching it, I knew I needed to blog about it. What a treat! As I watched, I felt the Holy Ghost multiple times as I learned about President Monson's remarkable life. So, whether you have plastic movie case holes that you need to poke out or if you just want to watch a truly uplifting movie, check it out. I think you'll like it just as much as I did.


Sunday, May 4, 2014

#130: The Challenge of Infertility: An Update.

Two years ago I wrote a guest post titled "The Challenge of Infertility" on the blog of my good friend, Jocelyn Christensen. It was an opportunity for me and Diane to explain the pain and sadness that can come with infertility, but it was ALSO an opportunity for us to express the great hope and joy that can come through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Just prior to writing the guest post, Diane and I had experienced a failed and costly attempt at in vitro fertilization. We were unsure of what next steps to take but decided the next month to try a round of artificial insemination (a much cheaper but not as effective treatment as in vitro) with a new doctor. Unfortunately, it too was unsuccessful.

At that point, we decided that adoption was the right choice for us to pursue. We quickly completed our application through LDS Family Services, passed inspection with the state (including installing child-safety locks, which continue to defeat me on a daily basis), created an adoption blog (no longer being updated due to my own laziness), and became members of the local Families Supporting Adoption board.
Me and the foxy wife posing for our adoption blog.
We LOVED all of the wonderful people we met while pursuing adoption. They have now become some of our closest friends, and we always rejoice when we hear of another couple having success through the adoption process. Adoption is a miracle and is part of God's plan for helping children come to the right loving homes. Another couple in our ward adopted a beautiful baby girl during this time, and we love her like crazy. In fact, I've been trying to teach her to roar like a wookiee, but at eight months old with no Adam's apple, she's still a work-in-progress.

As for us, unfortunately, after a few months of waiting and hoping, we hadn't experienced a successful adoption of our own. We began to worry that we would never have kids of our own, although we tried to stay optimistic. At one point, Diane wrote, "This week my world was busy and wonderful. I love life and I feel so blessed! On Tuesday night I went to a baby shower. I have to 'gear up' for baby showers as it is sometimes hard to be the only woman in the room who doesn’t have any pregnancy stories and to some degree feels like the 'odd ball'. I just try to nod when they talk about baby snuggling, puke, poop, developmental mile stone’s, etc...but it's hard. However, I decided this week that I was not going to be sad or feel down. Do I still feel a little odd? Well... yes. But instead of feeling sad, I just tried to think of all of my blessings and think about the day that we will hopefully get to adopt and bring home our sweet baby."

Finally, after a year of no adoption news, my heart began to break for my sweet wife. She tried so hard to never complain, but I knew that her greatest desire was to become a mother. And it just wasn't happening. If you know Diane, then you know how loving, kind, and cheerful she is; and you know that she would be a fantastic mother. But alas, it just didn't seem possible.

With  the encouragement of our family, in November 2013, we decided that we would try in vitro one more time. We didn't try to keep it a secret from our families this time because we knew that we needed all of the prayers and fasting that we could possibly get. In vitro is a big financial commitment (and one of the reasons why I still drive my smokin' hot 1995 Buick Century), but we felt that we had one more shot left in us. If it didn't work out, we would continue to hope for adoption while being the best uncle and aunt that we could be.
Just passed inspection yesterday. Ready to rock for another year.
Well, guess what? IN VITRO WORKED!!! On Christmas Eve 2013, Diane and I had our first ever positive pregnancy test in six years of trying. Who knew that pee on a stick could bring so much joy? It was the most amazing feeling in the world.
Our first ever plus sign.
We are now 22 weeks along with our first beautiful, sweet baby girl. I was never too big on other people's ultrasound pictures, but man, I've never seen anything cuter than my future daughter's grainy ultrasound profile pic.
I wanted to personally say thank you to everyone who has prayed for us, fasted for us, cried for us, and hoped for us. I cannot wait for the adventure of being a dad and having a little buddy. Life is so good.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

#129: Apostle Doodles.

I love General Conference. It is one of the best weekends of the year. Sometimes though I have a hard time paying attention through all ten hours, and I will start to drift off. But not this year.

To help me pay better attention this weekend, I drew some of the brethren on my iPad as they were speaking. I still don't know how to effectively shade a drawing, and for the life of me I can't draw a normal looking woman (out of respect, I won't post my attempt at drawing Jean R. Stevens), but overall, I am pleased with the results (although I won't be quitting my day job). Drawing awesome old guys may just become my new hobby.
Elder Robert D. Hales
Elder Dallin H. Oaks
Elder Quentin L. Cook
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
President Henry B. Eyring
President Thomas S. Monson