08 November 2009

New words

Alex has now learned to say 'dis' to everything (this?) and repeatedly points at the Disney movies and says either 'wash (watch)' or 'voovie (movie)'. Once again...cute as always.

A Child's Prayer...

This past week, we were saying family prayer right before Alex went to bed. He was standing on the footstool right next to where Inna was sitting, with his back to her. After we said 'Amen' I looked up and saw Alex bow his head, close his eyes, mouth a few words, and then end with an 'Amin' of his own.

Oh, it felt like that room became even more special after Alex's prayer. I've no doubt that he was really communicating, too. Cute kid

01 November 2009

The new Easter Bunny?

The only things Alex enjoys wearing more are his dad's smelly hat and shoes...

Where the Wild Things are...

Alex at his most innocent, sleeping with his stuffed friends...

The Dodges at Bridle Veil Falls...the conclusion

Alex after a long, hard, laborious, and cold trip to Bridle Veil Falls...

The angelic close-up. He was so tired that nothing would wake him up...

Proof how tired he was...one large teardrop after we headed to the car...

Why was he crying? Because he enjoyed running/walking (mostly running) along the path with each parent. The differences in height crack me up...

The Dodges at Bridle Veil Falls

Trying to get Alex to look at the goofy camera...

He finally looked...

...but only for a moment...then he started whining...

Until he got free!

The Ward Halloween Party, 30 Oct 2009

Alex at the BYU 175 Ward's Halloween party...the married ward.

Alex and Inna...with a large piece of cornbread that I think he robbed from an unsuspecting young couple.

Alex loved his pumpkin costume but HATED the thing on his head. This is his attitude face.

The evidence of his dislike...oh poor lil' boy.

09 October 2009

Alex post-fit and post-timeout

Here is Alex FINALLY in his high chair, eating yams/sweet potatoes. He had just returned from a brief stint in his room and after littering flipping all over the place in protest when I tried putting him in his chair for dinner.

It took some silly dancing and strange facial expressions from his dad (me) to get him laughing. This little kid can throw fits, man!!

Alex...and dogs...anything dogs-related

I came home from work today and Inna pointed to the front room...and I saw this cute little scene. Alex was watching Lady and the Tramp. And he loves dogs. His little, soft stuffed dog. Real dogs (especially Einstein and Inna's friend's dog). He sees dogs and screams with delight 'Goggy!!!!' Oh this was so cute...

Sitting on his changing pad...???

Okay, Alex is a character. Every time Inna cooks, Alex runs free because his Mom is occupied. So Alex removes all of our pots and pans, tupperware, and other things. This day he also took out many of his toys, spread them all over the dining room/kitchen floor...and then took his changing pad off of his changing table/dresser and brought it into the kitchen next to Inna. Everywhere she went, he followed...with the changing pad.

Alex in one of his gifts...a Blue Pooh Bear???

Alex...homie style

Alex and the War with Yogurt

Isn't this precious? Alex and his favorite yogurt (our yogurt).

This is Alex at his most devilish...

Now he's looking more like his dad, with the devilish look and all...

Alex Van Gogh

If you can see this clearly...Alex has just finished drawing with his crayons (the non-toxic kind that he still chews despite disliking the taste). The little guy draws on his face more than the paper. But isn't that pretty normal? Who knows, maybe he and Vince will be the next artists in the family?

23 August 2009

To discipline a child...and don't think me MEAN

I know some people out there disagree with 'time out' for someone as young as Alex, but he makes it work like a charm.  No longer does he spend 'time out' in his crib.  Instead, he runs to his room, screaming like a banshee, and stands in the middle of his room...until Dad sits in front of the door frame to the room and opens his arms (signaling that punishment is over).

I never meant to make it a standard thing, but it works like a charm to get Alex to calm down.  It's so cute, though, because sometimes the door will be partially closed, and Alex will stand by the opening, crying, looking at me, waiting for my open arms.  Then we have a great father/son moment and I explain why he was punished.  Better, though, is when I tell him, after him severely misbehaving, "Alex, go to your room."  I point to his room; he starts crying and runs to the middle of his room, beginning 'time out'.  The good part is that he is usually quite aware that he is misbehaving before I send him to his room.  So...thankfully, we've found something that has been working with calming down El Dude.

I know I've been dubbed the 'mean uncle' who disciplines over 'small things'...but I believe in the power of 'time-out'.  And I end it with love, hugs, and kisses.

El Dude continues his reign of adorable-ness

"Touch the sky/Come up in the spot, lookin' extra fly!"

I never thought a kid could have so much fun with an empty box of diapers...

Nor did I think that same kid could like women's shoes...  (As long as he doesn't turn 'emo' and wear girls' jeans)

20 August 2009

A slight tangent from Alex Land

Okay, anyone that knows me (Mike) knows that I am passionate about this country and the preservation of her ideals.  I am getting sicker and sicker of "politics as usual" and sincerely yearn for men and women that care less for power and more about the good of the nation.  I, too, have become sick of political games and risky maneuvers to gain 'political victories.'  We have seen far too many games in the last several years, and I am sick of them all.  The current, controversial, health care 'reform' debates have stirred up storms...and the following article from Caroline Baum expresses some of my frustrations about politicians in general.  Bottom line:  they don't care about us, the regular citizens and residents of the nation.  They are far too filled with contradictions, hypocrisy, and logical fallacies!  Will the real, honest citizens please stand up?

(I know many of you read our blog to see pictures of Alex, but I'm going to 'bore' you with something that is important.  If you don't like it, too bad; you need to pay closer attention to what's going on.  The silent majority has more power than you realize...so speak up and get engaged in your nation!)

Aug. 19 (Bloomberg) -- When the political winds shift -- when a party is voted out of power or a policy is panned by the public -- Washington turns to its favorite pastime: the blame game.

And so it is with President Barack Obama, who tripped on his sprint to the health-care-reform finish line. Voters, it seems, want to understand a little more about what ObamaCare will mean for them, what it will do to the doctor-patient relationship, and what it will cost future generations in higher taxes and, yes, rationed supply.

Rather than examine the public’s concerns, the plans’ inconsistencies or the sheer irresponsibility of trying to ram something this big and complicated through Congress without a small-scale trial, the Obama administration is pointing fingers. Lots of them. Most of the targets are just plain silly.

1. Conservative groups

When liberal activists, including trade unions, Acorn and MoveOn.org, protested against anything and everything President George W. Bush said or did, it was called grassroots democracy.

When conservative groups encourage supporters to attend town hall meetings and make their sentiments known to their congressmen, it’s un-American, disruptive and the work of right- wing extremists.

Madame Hypocrite

Where was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, when President George W. Bush was being compared to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis? She was a “fan of disrupters” in those days, as she told anti-war protesters at a January 2006 town hall meeting in San Francisco. Pelosi only developed a thin skin (too much plastic surgery?) when the Democrats took control of the executive and legislative branches of government.

The effort to blame right-wing groups is transparent. If my feedback on a recent column is indicative of the political persuasion and demographic distribution of the protesters, these are ordinary Americans energized by the debate, frustrated at not having a voice and motivated to exercise their right of free speech. Attempts to smear opponents and shut down debate are, well, un-American.

2. Insurance Companies

Garnering support for health-insurance reform by demonizing insurance companies is a cheap shot, albeit one that resonates with the public. After all, these are the faceless bureaucrats who deny or pay claims in a seemingly arbitrary manner and refuse or cancel coverage if you cost them too much money.

Stubborn Facts

Facts are stubborn things, this White House is quick to remind us. And in this case, the facts don’t support the vilification.

If insurance companies were gouging the public, the evidence would show up in one of two places, according to Graef Crystal, a compensation expert in Santa Rosa, California, and occasional Bloomberg News columnist: excessive executive pay or excessive returns to shareholders.

His analysis of five major health insurers shows just the opposite: below-market pay and below-market shareholder returns.

“There’s no case here for undue enrichment of shareholders” or over-compensating CEOs, Crystal finds.

Health care needs a major overhaul, but that’s no reason to make scapegoats out of insurance companies.

3. The Media

I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard Obama point the finger at the media at his town hall meeting last week in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Fishing Expedition

The president, defending the White House’s fishing expedition for “fishy” e-mailson health-insurance reform (suspended this week by popular demand), blamed the media for “distorting what’s taken place.”

Is this the same media that was in the pocket for candidate Obama and waltzed us through the honeymoon? If Bush had been as reliant on his teleprompter as Obama, or said “Cinco de Cuatro” when he meant “Cuatro de Mayo,” the press would have been all over him for being inept.

Sorry, Mr. President, you have no idea what it means for the media to distort what’s taken place. The long-gone Bush administration is getting more negative press than you are.

4. Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin, the recently retired governor of Alaska, 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate and Democrat’s favorite whipping boy (or girl), created a stir with a reference to death panels on Facebook. Palin said she didn’t want her parents or Down-Syndrome baby to “have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide” what kind of medical care should be allocated to these less productive members of society.

Blame the Democrats

This is the same Sarah Palin whose foreign policy experience was summed up during the campaign by her ability “to see Russia from land here in Alaska.” This is the same Sarah Palin credited with changing the terms of the debate? C’mon. That’s too laughable to address.

Besides, there’s a kernel of truth in what she said. Like all goods and services, medical care is a scarce resource that must be rationed. The only question is how: by the market (price) or by government mandate.

If government is doing the rationing, what exactly will bureaucrats use to determine who gets what care and who doesn’t?

Opposition to fast-track health-insurance reform is coming from Obama’s own party. Senator Kent Conrad, Democrat of North Dakota and one of six Finance Committee members involved in bipartisan negotiations, said on Fox News Sunday that the goal is to “get this right,” not meet some “specific timetable.”

He said the Senate lacks enough votes to pass a bill with a public option. “To continue to chase that rabbit, I think, is just a wasted effort.”

There’s always room for one more -- the Democrats -- on Obama’s blame-game list.

(Caroline Baum, author of “Just What I Said,” is a Bloomberg News columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.)

To contact the writer of this column: Caroline Baum in New York atcabaum@bloomberg.net.

15 August 2009

The Dodges and Dung

Okay, here are two disgusting stories that I just couldn't resist telling...

1.  Back in June, Alex got the stomach flu from the little dudes at daycare, so I stayed home with him for two days (as directed by the doctor).  On the second day, Alex felt quite better and continued his regular running around.  It was during one of those sprints that I noticed a light light yellow/brown puddle on the front room rug, which I thought was pudding (because we have pudding that color).  I walked over, kept Alex away from the puddle, and put my finger to the puddle and smelled.  Well, I did too good of job smelling because I also stuck the stuff in my nose...and noticed that it was feces/diarrhea.  Alex had filled his diaper with Flaming Gorge-amounts of diarrhea...and I had put it in my nose.  Yeah...I swear I could smell it for hours after, even though I washed my face immediately after changing Alex.

2.  Today, 15 August 2009, Alex was chilling with us in the kitchen while I cleaned up my email account (over 300 unread business and sales emails).  Alex walked over to my legs and sat down on my calves for a bit then got up and ran around.  Well, he left my legs wet, which I thought might have been urine.  No, I had just changed his diaper...no way he could fill it with urine that quickly!  So I looked and...aw, man!...Alex left serious skid marks on my left leg.  Once again, he had filled the diaper and then squeezed some on my leg.  I haven't been that tempted to curse in a long time.  

09 August 2009

Long time since the last post...

Many of you have commented on the dearth of new pictures of Alex, etc.  Yeah, I know, we don't update our blog as much as we should.  Sorry.  So...maybe I should update you on the new goings-on with the Dodges.

1.  Inna has now betrayed BYU and is working for UVU (I know, it's a tragic move...but necessary.  Too bad BYU had contract limits.)  Just kidding...no betrayal.  Her heart still bleeds blue for the ELC, not the odd green and brown of UVU.  Wow, the Honor Code seems to make a world of difference.

Great news, after several years of working her tail off, Inna will be able to stay home with Alex (and work her tail off with him at home...but at home, that's the most important thing.)  She needs the break.  (Scratch that...she will still teach one evening class at UVU.)

2.  Mike is now working as a high school Admissions Consultant for Stevens-Henager College, feeling the sweet relief and rescue from Macey's.  A job is better than no job...but some are worse or get worse than others.  However, Stevens-Henager College will be a great experience and a great way to mostly provide for the family.

Mike is also weighing his education options (no, he is NOT chickening out) between an employee benefits-provided MBA degree and later law school or study for the LSAT and take it NEXT YEAR!  Meanwhile, Stevens-Henager will demand a great deal of time.

3.  Alex is growing and growing.  He gets faster every day, making his parents work harder in catching him.  Also, he's not even two years old and he loves computers and can't get enough of looking at himself on the computer screen.

He constantly wears his parents' shoes, tries helping Mike with vacuuming the house, and has fell in love with corn-on-the-cob (well, corn cut off the cob).

As expected, he is a little, 26-pound drop from heaven.  If all kids were like Alex, the world would be so much better.  Wait...if only the world were like children...

Short of it:  life for the Dodges presents its challenges...but life is beautiful.

P.S.  Inna will still have to work part-time, but from home...

Future director?

Alex laughing and enjoying himself while watching a video of himself.  This is such a blast watching his reactions.  He even acts out the same stuff on each video.

Cute kid.

Yeah, baby, yeah...

He just can't get enough of staring at the computer screen, especially when we show him pictures and videos of himself.

Alex is adorable with this computer.  He will grab a chair from the front room, either push or pull it into the dining area, place it in front of the table, sit down or stand, and stare at it.  Now, though, he has started screaming in delight at his pictures!


This is classic 'fit throwing' Alex.  He flops on the floors or pretends that he knees don't work...

Hey Josh, is this slightly reminiscent of your infamous pre-church screaming pic?  Just adorable!

Giddy up, giddy up!

Alex taught himself how to ride the 'horsie' donated by Melissa.  Thanks, Melissa.  He loves riding it back and forth.

Don't you just want to nibble on or pinch those little cheeks?

Size 12 in Attitude and Aspiration

Doesn't every kid try his dad's shoes?  This is always fun, as is finding random toys and treasures wedged in the toes of my shoes.  


El Dude rarely does this, but he caught up on some needed sleep.  All he needs in more open eyes and gray saliva (resulting from licorice candy, which we don't feed him...) and then he'd look like his father at a younger age.  

These are some of my most favorite moments, when Alex rests his head on my chest and falls asleep.  I love it!

4 July 2009 - The Patriot...

Alex was so excited about the Fourth of July.  He partied, watched his parents and aunt/uncle do yard work, played in the water, and caught up on lost sleep.  As you can tell, he wasn't a huge fan of the barbecued hot dogs.  Oh well, we all enjoyed them!

02 June 2009

To think, two years ago, we were anti-cell-phone...

...and now our little boy is learning how to use technology. He gets our old cellphones and says: "Dadadada..." and other things. It's adorable.

23 April 2009

Two milestones...Mike's graduation and Mike and Inna's four-year anniversary. If it doesn't seem like much of an accomplishment, that's because there is so much more. The better has yet to come!
April 15th...a little more than two months ago...during that freak snowstorm. As you can tell...our trees have never been the same. There used to be four in front...now there are three. The snow destroyed the trunk of one tree and broke off at least twenty thick limbs from the others. The tree closest to the driveway still looks like a mountain man's teeth...ragged and missing.

21 May 2009

Good kids and bad kids...

I'm not the most patient guy on the earth (sorry to disappoint the believers)...and it takes some real self control and 'sucking-it-up' to endure a child's incessant screaming over being put to bed (after twenty minutes of blood curdling screams, he's asleep)...but I've learned something about children. They are difficult. But that difficulty arises because rearing children is part of godliness (not to say that I'm deity by any stretch of the imagination)...and when has anything really worthwhile ever been easy?

Reminds me of two political science classes I had. One, Political Science 200 was a bear. I had weekly projects due and heavy amounts of research and preparation. I haven't worked that hard in a class throughout my entire education. I averaged three to four hours of sleep finishing up the projects...and ultimately got an A in the class. Two, Political Science 316, an interesting course about American political parties. I learned a great deal from the material and studied for nearly three weeks to prepare for the only exam. I worried about it and lost sleep over it...but the final took me 15 minutes and I only missed one question. Left the room happy with the A, but also disappointed and robbed by the ridiculously easy examination. My point is...both classes were fine...but only the one that stretched me ended up meaning something.

Which is why I think an impatient person can successfully calm him or herself when children slip up. Why? Currently I serve in a position where I'm confronted with young adults' unwise choices and must then participate in counseling them about the consequences and seeing that they receive the assistance necessary to learn from their mistakes and change their lives. It's not an easy thing to witness. It's an edifying experience but also a draining one. I'm repeatedly reminded how precious children are, no matter the age, and how merciful God is to his children. I see how these young adults are given opportunities to correct their lives, and not one has ever left those meetings with a 'easy slate.' It's all hard. It hurts like repentance should...but worth it. Now I'm not equating child-rearing with repentance; I'm merely reflecting on God's love for his children. I feel it in those experiences as I do with caring for Alex.

He's at the stage where he talks back and tries lashing out in frustration, pinching or hitting. He's still a little angel through and through but just in that transitional phase where he just won't listen. No matter. Sometimes I want to scream and run outside, yanking out chunks of hair and ramming my head into brick. But then I calm down and realize how precious that kid is, especially when he disarms me by smiling right after he's naughty. Point is...I've learned and am still learning that children are precious, no matter what their age. Consequently, are there really very many bad kids? I think that number is significantly smaller than I've ever realized. Hmmm...

Alex helping Inna in the kitchen...

Inna was doing something in the kitchen and turned to find Alex helping with the dishes and sitting in our pan. He pulled the pots and pans out then sat in the largest one. Funny dude.
Strike a pose...Alex is already preparing to become a deacon!