Birthday Party

Although he officially turned 4 yesterday, we celebrated Ethan's birthday on Saturday. His first present was a 5 dollar bill slipped into a greeting card by his great-grandmother. He was so excited he wanted me to capture a picture, which you may enjoy below. I do not know why he his holding the money with his little birdies showing. Please don't be offended.

Then he insisted that I hold Lincoln. Again, Ethan managed to capture his middle finger in this picture. Is he trying to tell my blog readers something? You decide.

Ethan's mom put together a very nice pirate paarrrrrty (I couldn't resist) at her home. Many friends and family gathered to honor my best little buddy. Here you can see the cake that was created by Sara. Nice, eh?

The amount of presents given to this boy was obscene. This is a small sample:

My old neighbors from the OC came. This is Ethan with Mary Lou and Lindsay:

Ethan and Mary Lou:

Scott and Chris:

Kristi. This picture was taken later in the afternoon, around 4:20.

An old friend, Kathryn Dempke, came with her little girl Daphne:

David and Cheyanne, the happy couple:

Josh and David in a heated conversation of some sort:

This is Nick. We almost didn't let him in because his new beard makes him look like a terrorist. I don't know the guy on the right. And he is wearing a Slipknot shirt which means that I don't want to know him:

Lilia, cute as usual:

There was a pinata, but nowhere to hang it. This was the most white trash portion of the party:

I got precisely 0 good pictures of Ethan swinging the bat:

Owen, trying to strike gold, candy gold:

This is undeniably the best picture of the party. Lilia has an apparent pent-up anger issue:

Hey, Scott and Kristi! Leave some candy for the kids!

Ethan was very careful to always open the cards before the presents. Such a good boy.

Pirate Lacrosse? Sounds awesome!

Does anyone remember these things? I don't know what they are called, but I had a lot of fun with them when I was a kid:

The finale:

I would have to say the the party was a huge success. Ethan had a great time and received some very nice gifts. Thanks to everyone who was able to attend.

Level Up!

Yesterday, Ethan officially jumped to dungeon kid level 4. Here's how he decided to distribute his new found experience points:

Strength +5 ("Daddy, I'm so strong now because I'm 4!")
Dexterity +2
Wisdom +1
Adorableness +2 (Didn't think this one could go any higher did you?)
Appetite -1 (How do I get this kid to eat!?!)

Also, his hit points increased by 20 and his armor class decreased by 2. Way to go Ethan!


Never Means Forever

Elation gives way to sorrow,
a ship sunk into despair.
A glimpse of hope,
a kind word, a tear,
to keep me from sinking.
I reach, I grasp and
I will never let go.


Good Morning

Last night I slept, I dreamt,
and I forgot that
I held you in my arms.

This morning I woke, I remembered,
and I smiled.


Best Weekend Ever

Ethan and I drove out to the OC on Saturday to meet David and Cheyanne for a beach BBQ. We went to Chey's friend Pat's house which as you can see below is right on the beach.

It was a bit cold, so we didn't last too long outside. Ethan had a great time exlporing and collecting sea shells. We splashed around in the water for a few minutes and then went inside to warm up. David and Chey bought all kinds of great food for us to snack on while we waited for our dogs to grill. The best food of the day was BBQ'd corn with chili powder and lime. David mentioned the name of this delicious side dish but I have already forgotten it. Apparently, they sell it on street corners in Mexico City. If you have the chance to try it, do not pass it up.

Here are some shots of Ethan trying to work the hula hoop on Pat's balcony.

Chey offered her expert hula advice:

Cheyanne's sister and my good friend Chelsea joined us for the BBQ. Aren't these two the most adorable sisters you have ever seen? I have thought so since the 10th grade.

After our beach BBQ, we went over to my brother Scott's house for a backyard BBQ. Ethan played with his cousins while David and I visited with Scott and Traci. We ate delicious hamburgers and later banana 'slices' (like splits 'cept different) with homemade ice cream. Thanks Scott and Traci!

The crowning moment of the evening (and perhaps the weekend) was heading up to the attic (3rd floor?) to play Wii Sports. I don't have any pics of this activity, nor am I able to describe the insane amounts of fun that were had. I did find a video which does an adequate job of illustrating the merrymaking that occurred:

We enjoyed golf, bowling, tennis, baseball and boxing. And it was a total blast. We played for several hours, long enough for David to finally figure out how to play and beat me in a few games. After the gameplay, Scott let me drive his faster than fast Corvette to drop David off at his home. Unfortunately, I forgot my wallet with my driver's license so I had to take it easy on the streets.

Sunday morning Ethan and I drove back to David and Chey's to accompany them to church. Cheyanne is the Sunbeam teacher in their ward, so Ethan was in her class. I didn't get a lot of details, but Ethan said he had a great time. After church we went to the park for a picnic. D & C's neighbor Jen and her son Dean joined us. We had some very scrumptuous sandwiches and a fruit salad.

The boys did a lot of stuff like this:

We said our goodbyes and Ethan and I took off for home. It was truly the best weekend ever.

A Wonderful Conversation

Ethan and I went to Target this afternoon to pick up some things for the house. On the ride home, we had a wonderful conversation. It went like this:

E: (yawns)
A: "Did I just hear a yawn? Are you tired?"
E: "No, that was just a morning yawn. I'm not tired."
A: "Oh, ok."
E: (after a brief pause) "Daddy, what are yawns?"
A: "Good question Ethan. But nobody really knows why we yawn."
E: "But Jesus knows."
A: "Yes, he probably does. You're a smart boy."
E: "Yep. That's because I'm a smarty-pants."


No need to feel guilty
for your truths held tightly.
Perfection I seek,
not in you but me.
I look to find the beauty,
in what the world calls unsightly.


A Few New Things

You may have noticed that I added a few new things to my blog. On the right you will see a list of music that has captured my ear at the present time. I'll try to keep this up to date as much as possible. I encourage you to check out the bands listed and share your opinions with me. Also, if you have discovered some new music that you find spectacular and want to recommend, please do so. Hearing your suggestions will delight me.

Also on the right is a small music player. I'll update this player each week with a new song. Please listen and give me your feedback. I have purposely not included the artist or song name so that if you fall in love with the song, you will have to ask me for the details. Oh, and if for some reason the music player does not work for you, I'd like to know so that I can correct it. Happy listening.



In my mind, I have imagined that many of you are wondering why I sign my posts 'Triple-A'. I will tell you.

First, let me settle your concerns. No, it has nothing to do with baseball or sports of any kind. It is not at all related to automobile insurance or poor excuses for travel agents. I am not in a gang and I do not spend my nights tagging freeways or billboards. And I wear my pants around my waist.

As you may know, my name begins with two A's. This has always made me feel special. When listed alphabetically by first name, I am nearly always first. I have secretly wished for many years that my name were spelled with three A's instead of two. That would put all those damn aardvarks in their proper places. Right behind me. They think they're so great.

It's as simple as that. Questions?


A Flurry of Poetry

The following poems were all written during my high school years. Some of them are sad, some just silly. Some are still meaningful to me today. Please let me know which is your favorite. And please excuse the profanity.



She sits in her room all night
and draws up her plans.
She is the only beneficiary.
What a bitch.

Two Week Feeling

Twenty years past
will we look back

And try to find
that two week feeling

Which will remind us
of how it was

To be young
and in love?

If You Listen

With an ear, we all do.


Feelings hurt,
love kills.

I wish I were a rock.

Fistful of Wishes

I want a wife
who will let me name
my first-born 'Zen'.

She exists somewhere,
like a banana without a


This is me.
This is my way.
Take me as I am.

Ape Ring

I looked at her and
she looked back with her
ohnonotthatguyagain look,
like a fruit fly landing on
a rotten tomato.


You fill me with
what she stole.

Writer's Block

Dearest Milkshake Blog Readers,

I am so sorry for the recent lack of quality posts. I know that I have disappointed everyone that reads this blog regularly. I owe both of you an apology. I have an exciting weekend planned and I promise that I will take many pictures and share many funny stories.

So stay tuned and don't give up on me yet.





Last night I picked up the new Blonde Redhead CD, entitled 23. After a brief listen, I must recommend this music to anyone and everyone. They self-produced the record which is new for them, and I like the results. It's a departure from their last album but I love the direction they are taking. The guitars are softened and add an ethereal feel that works well. Go out and buy this if you get a chance. Or, just click the image to the right and order from Amazon. You will not be disappointed.


Misery & Pain

With hands tied
and aching to be free,
words are spoken
that once brought me fear.

Truth hits your ear
as the drum breaks
and the words fall through,

Even the sound of love
is not enough to wake you
from your misery and pain.



Ethan found his Easter basket before I woke up. I think he has some crazy ability to smell candy from long distances. I hope that his talent somehow earns him millions of dollars when he gets all big and grown up. I'm not sure how this will work, so if you have any ideas please share.

As you can see, I (the Easter bunny) chose a Tonka truck for Ethan's Easter basket. This was a good decision. After studying all the candy he received it was dumped on the floor and the truck started making lots of honking and crashing noises as he pushed it around the room.

We ate some breakfast and got ready for church. I'm kicking myself for not grabbing some pictures of Ethan's Easter outfit. He wore the best tie ever. I'll be sure to share another day.

After church we went over to Chris and Kristi's house for delicious food and family togetherness. It was very nice. We had an Easter egg hunt for the kids. Here they are preparing to demolish the backyard:

Some more pictures of the hunt:

The highlight of the afternoon was our surprise visitor. My father was so excited he did this:

My mother also gave bunny a little sugar:

And of course all the kids thanked him for the candy.

Ethan and I pose with the most underrated holiday hero:

Then the Easter bunny had to leave.

It turns out, he's an angry bunny.

The Easter bunny was actually my brother-in-law and good friend Josh Cottrell. You'll remember him as the guy who does not take good pictures. He surprised us all by walking out during the egg hunt in his costume. The kids loved it, but I think it was more fun for the adults. Thanks, Josh!

Much sugar was consumed this day.

My favorite part of the day occurred at church. I teach Sunday School to the 14 and 15 year old kids in our ward. Today's lesson was about the keys of the priesthood and the transfiguration of Christ before Peter, James and John. It was a great lesson and I felt like my class got a lot out of it. I really enjoy teaching those kids.


Grandma's 87th Birthday

Yesterday, we celebrated my grandmother's 87th birthday. Her new husband, Floyd, treated the entire family to a meal at Hometown Buffet in San Diego. We had a great time. Here's a shot of the birthday girl and her hubby:

This picture was taken just before I explained to my sister, Stacy, that even though we were eating at Hometown Buffet it did not mean that she could pick her nose at the table.

Jen fed Jonah dinner while the rest of us ate, so she was the last to fill up her plate. She got up and 30 seconds later came back with a pathetically sad expression on her face and a plate with beans, an empty tortilla shell and what looked like it may have been an enchilada at one time. "I started with a Mexican theme, but now I don't want it," she said. Josh and I recommended that she discreetly discard the plate at an empty table and start over. Then I grabbed some documentation:

I wanted to draw as much attention as possible to the rejected Mexican themed meal, so I invited Ethan and Owen over for some more shots. They were all too happy to pose:

Here is what Jen came back with after the Mexican food fiasco:

As you can see, she was much happier with her new meal:

I guess this is Josh's first appearance on my blog. He has a reputation for not being able to take a good picture. He did not disappoint on this fine evening:

This one is a little better:

Ethan really enjoyed the soft serve ice cream:

After dinner we went over to Grandma's house for the opening of presents. They have a very nice home in Mission Beach with a great view of the bay. At 9:00, Sea World launched their nightly fireworks show. We enjoyed it from the patio.

The grandkids got into Grandma's closet and found some wigs. My nieces, Lindsay and Ashley had a great time creating mullet hairdos:

Needless to say, it was a really fun time. Happy Birthday Grandma! I love you!