Fit Bit Ionic – Overview

First I want to have a moment of silence for my old fit bit. It served me well for about a year and then slowly but surly began to fall apart. Using various adhesives I was able to hold it together for a few weeks until my new ionic arrived. Thanks little fit bit buddy- you did good.

The new fitbit ionic is such a tremendous step up I’m not even sure where to start. First impressions were really positive (and impression have remained positive). Here’s anunboxing and a wrist shot:

Setup took a long time but it was pretty painless; the watch updated and was configured within an hour and there were no unexpected issues.

Here are some quick thoughts on the ionic:

Comfort: Wow. New band is exceptional- love the way the updated clasp works. Light and unobtrusive.

Appearance: Very classy. Nice large face (I don’t like small watches). A bit boxy in appearance. Beautiful color screen (my pictures don’t really do it much justice).

Functions: Typical stuff like timers, steps heart rate, etc. Meditation app, coach and the ability to load your music on are nice extras. Built in GPS is exciting. Also, the ability to swim in the ionic could come in very handy. Nice to read texts / notification on my watch (although the vibrating is tinny and annoying).

One other annyance: You can set the ionic to show you messages receive on your phone. Texts are fine but when there’s a reminder alarm the ionic let’s you know… over and over and over. You can to disable it on the phone side.

Accuracy: The GPS matches my Runkeeper app quite well. Gets walks / runs without GPS incorrect (and the editing feature is not working). Auto logging cuts off a significant amount of, foe example, a walk. Hear rate monitor accuracy seems to be better.

A very solid offering from fitbit! I’m quite happy with the watch so far and I’m excitied to see how it works and wears as time goes on. The fitbit app remains the same and I find it to be one of the most comprehensive heath apps available.

Score: 8/10

10/15/2017 Update: I just realized the other day that I was sent the wrong color watch. I’d ordered the black / grey but I was sent a blue / grey. However I think that ended up being a good mistake; I really like the color of my watch.

Also, one thing about this ionic really bugs me. If you have the “Notifications: Receive notifications from phone” set to “on” you can see text messages displayed on the watch’s screen which is great. You also get notifications from alerts (i.e. calendar events) sent to you phone… and they keep coming. The watch will continue to vibrate until you actually look at the notification on your phone. I don’t know if that’s the way it’s designed but it’s very irritating.

Preoccupation with “Progress”

We hear memorable sayings about living in the moment, the “now,” all the time. It’s good, solid advice. I often catch myself saying things like “I’ll feel satisfied when…” or “After such and such I’ll feel better.” This mentality robs us of our ability to appreciate what’s right in front of us. It’s misdirects our focus and attention. It can rob us of our ability to live in the present. Of our happiness.

This post may feel like it’s headed somewhere substantial, but I assure you it will be as superficial as usual. Let’s talk about my car (which is really more of a metaphor in this post). I am perpetually fixated on what parts I’m going to get, what I’m going to do and what it will be like “when.” What’s up with that? I have done a bunch of cool upgrade and all I can do is think about the next one. There must be some emotional component at play I’m not in touch with (spoiler: there is).

Realistically the Turbo S has all the power you’d ever need in a street car. But there I am online looking at the COBB AP, Kline exhaust systems and an IPD plenum. Why? So it will go a little faster? I don’t even open the car up as it sits. I live in perpetual fear of being pulled over or crashing; more power has got to the last thing I need, logically speaking. I have had some bad luck with car upgrades in the past and, again logically assessing the situation, I don’t know why I’d want to void my warranty and risk catastrophic engine failure to achieve a higher trap speed in a quarter mile I won’t even run. Insane.

Visually I’m super happy with my car. I love the black wheels, the carbon fiber accents and the ’16 styling in general. And yet… I look at rear diffusers, I consider putting in different door sills (With lighting? Yes please!), carbon fiber side view mirrors, a spoiler swap and maybe painting that rear valance… maybe I’ll just trade it in for a 2017. Again, I’m so fixated on going another round I can’t even appreciate what’s just been added, what’s right in front of me. All to common, I think.

So the question is “Why?” Is it the “more” mentality that seems to drive this generation? Is it the fear of missing out on something better? Other people have this stuff and they’re happy, right? Or maybe it’s just a hole – and emotional void – that I try to fill by dumping endless stuff into. And as I explore my feelings I begin to realize that I loath things. Not all things are bad, of course. But things are demanding. They need other things. They need your time.

Thinking about what’s next for my car isn’t limited to upgrades and modifications. No, it extends into worrying about what the next problem will be. It involves thinking about that little speaker buzz I couldn’t find, the clicking noise I imagine I hear, the fear that my boost level will drop, the transmission will fail, the car will literally fall apart. To what end? Every drive should be a chance to enjoy the car’s capabilities and performance but part of it inevitably ends up as a worry session. An opportunity to try and predict the most negative future I can imagine based off of fear. Fear controls. Things control. Somehow they have to power to grab our attention and shift it.

Things often distract us from what’s important. Every moment wasted thinking about my car is time I could have writing, reading, learning, spending time time with family, friends. Don’t get me wrong- a hobby is fine, probably even healthy. But when a pastime consumes you and tricks you into giving more time that it deserves and removes you from the now then you lose and everyone around you loses.

As I mentioned my car is a metaphor; you can substitute the idea of a car for anything, really. I chose a car because it’s clear to me that my car gets more than it’s fair share of my time. I see people who become obsessed with all kinds of things (some, like me, are not limited to just one thing): work, money, food, interior decorating, home improvements, Facebook, video games, health and exercise, travel, art, toys and phones. There are no end to worldly diversions.

So I’ve recognized a problem. What’s next? Far from being preachy this post is simply an exploration of my own feelings. None of these ideas are new to me, but I wanted to put them somewhere. I don’t have advice to dispense. After I finish this post I’ll probably look at carbon fiber car parts, see what’s new on Facebook and think about home improvements. Alas.

After I wrote this post I actually did a Google search for “living in the now” and found this TED talk. I’ll just put this here for later. Maybe what I’m really blogging about (saying) is that things can be an obstacle to our happiness. Duh. But it’s more than that. I’m also trying to convey that things can take us out of the moment. And being out of the moment can diminish our happiness.

But won’t being content and living in the moment rob us of our motivation? Maybe I’m misconstruing vision and progress as an obsession with material goods. Eh.

May 1, 2017: An Update- For the record I find that I become hyper-fixated on my car when I have something very stressful looming over me, as I do right now. 

Hughes Family: January 2015

January was a blur. There’s no other way to describe it. I feel like we did a ton of stuff, but the photographic evidence doesn’t seem to support the claim. Maybe the best thing to do is just pretend it was a relaxing month. January was like a slow motion massage.

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What better way to start off the 2015 than with a little skiing? Fran, Catherine, Randall and the kids (most of them) hit Sundance for a day of snow and fun. One of these days I’m going to go skiing again. Green diamonds all the way.

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The beginning of the year is the perfect time to make poorly thought out resolutions. “Be healthy” Vague and yet impossibly difficult. Lots of veggies and lean meats? Check. Good thing these kind of resolutions only last a couple of weeks!

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Gabe is playing basketball again! We put in a quarter court (is that a thing?) in our side yard and he and Mike play all the time. I actually played a quick game against both of them. I am really out of shape, but I crushed them. Keep practicing kids!

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Per French tradition Francoise made “la galette des rois” (the cake of the kings). In addition to being delicious there is a hidden treasure in the cake. Whoever finds it while eating is the king! This year I was the lucky guy so I got to wear this sweet crown.

 

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How is this even possible? I swept up an amazing pile of trash. And then a few days later I swept up another pile. Our kids just seem to dump trash and food on the floor wherever they go. This isn’t “haha” funny to me either.  I feel like it denotes a serious lack of respect and consideration. What can I do? I know… just keep sweeping.

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Even taking into account their messes I feel like I have wonderful kids. I spent some time with Gabe playing on the SNES and working on a few projects- he’s quite the little builder. Chloe is enrolled in dance class and loves it. Claire is turning into quite the little chef and can make cookies completely on her own. Mike is an adept strategist and it’s fun to play games like Pandemic with him. Yes, the rewards of parenthood often outstrip the costs.

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We’re working on landscaping! The HOA here in Ivory Ridge has been fantastic. They have completely ignored everything we have asked and our repeated submissions. I don’t understand why the HOA hasn’t been turned over to the community or why no one who actually lives in Ivory Ridge is part of any decision making process. We are just plunging ahead. I don’t see why they wouldn’t approve our beautification efforts but nothing surprises me anymore.

As I said, the visual documentation of what I experienced in January is lacking. Perhaps that’s due in part to being gone for a few days at the SHOT show. Perhaps I need to take more pictures. Or perhaps my brain just makes stuff up to hurt me.

 

Hughes Family: October 1, 2013 – October 15, 2013

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Every morning Fran makes a veggie juice concoction and each morning I drink it. I think it actually might help! I just want to publicly thank her for taking good care of me. Biggest Looser is starting back up today and I’m pretty sure that will help jump start my health efforts.

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Chloe turned two this past week! We don’t have giant parties for the little ones (we wait until they ask), but she still got a cake and some fun presents. Below is a video of her blowing out her birthday candles. Do you think she knows what’s going on?

Mike is about done with football for the year. He’s spent most of his time as a lineman (usually offensive tackle). His coach says he’s come a long way and he’s doing a great job. Here’s a video from one of his last games (he’s number 50):

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For FHE we went and picked out some pumpkins (I think Macey’s is a good place to get them). This year they had some decorative pumpkins which piqued the interest of the kids. Part of me likes carving pumpkins (possibly next week) but another part of me wants to scream and throw them at people I hate.

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Last weekend we took a quick trip to Moab for some biking and sightseeing.  We started our trip by discovering we had the wrong size hitch for our bike trailer which put us an hour behind schedule (and the bad weather didn’t either).  This was our first trip in the Yukon and the kids were pretty much glued to the TVs. Fran navigated us up I-15 to extend the road trip since the ride was so wonderful (this is sarcasm).

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We opted not to rough it this time around and stayed at the Aarchway Inn. The room was spacious and well maintained (three queen beds!). The hotel property was also very nice and included a giant playground, a parkour course, picnic areas and lots of open space (some mud too… the kids loved it).

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Hotel highlights: Mercilessly raiding the vending machines, hotel breakfasts and a splendid dip the pool.

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Biking didn’t go quite as we’d hoped. Getting the bikes & helmets adjusted took more time than we expected. And then only about 1/4 mile into our trip disaster struck. We hit a cluster of thorns that ended up popping seven of our tires. We were able to temprarily fix most of the tires and managed to make it another few miles down the path (which was beautiful) but ultimatley we had to cut our biking excursion short. I guess we’ll have to go back to bike another time.

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On the way up to Moab I requested that we try to find good (tried and true) food to eat. Fran assured me that we would be relying on Trip Adviser and that I was in good hands. Our first day in Moab Fran said we were going to eat at the Mandarin Szechuan buffet. Once we had tried the food it was clear something was very wrong- it ranks among the worst buffets I have ever tried. Fran confessed that she hadn’t checked Trip Adviser. She had seen the Asian buffet, got excited and made an “emotional decision”.  It was bad food, but I have to say I think my wife is pretty cute!
Our next meal was at Zax (4/5 starts on Trip Adviser). It was better than Szechuan, but over all the mean was only so-so (really dry pizza). I guess you can’t necessarily trust reviews either. 
What say ye Moab travelers- where should be eat next time?

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On the way back from Moab we decided to trick the kids and made a detour to Dead Horse Point. Man, what a view! I found a good place to hang off a “cliff” for the obligatory “I’m about to die!” picture. If this had been real I’m pretty sure my kids would have stepped on my hands.

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A lovely family picture.

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And a lovey panoramic view from the edge of Dead Horse Point. If you haven’t been here before it’s worth the quick detour.

Arches opened back up while we were in Moab. It would have been fun to do take a quick drive though the park, but the kids weren’t up for it. All in all I think we came away with a lot of good memories of trip that didn’t go quite right. Next time will be better.

Hughes Family: November 5th, 2012 – November 11th, 2012

Some text here… a bit here, and voila!  A blog post.

Mike’s bike is in a perpetual state of disrepair from constant abuse & neglect. It seems like every month we have to repair a flat or make some of kind adjustment. We used to drop his bike off at a repair shop, but that got expensive so we started doing repairs ourselves. This last time I had Michael help me (I think Fran told me this fulfilled a scouting requirement). He was a pretty good helper.

And then we voted. The line was excessively long- I waited almost two hours- but I didn’t mind (thank you iPhone!). I would have gone later in the evening, when it turned out there was no line, but had other plans.

I have a few thoughts on the election. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but I’m not particularly pleased with the outcome (though not surprised). I don’t feel like we accomplished much as a country in the last four years. Obviously I don’t put the blame completely on our president, but I think he shares some of the responsibility.

What really worries me for the time being are taxes. I don’t mind if the Bush-era tax cuts expire, or if some deductions are eliminated here and there, but I do mind a tax increase. President Obama has made it clear that he intends to raise taxes on the rich. Maybe that, in and of itself, isn’t a bad idea. But to Mr. Obama I look like a very wealthy citizen instead of a business. My company is a pass though S-corp which mean that on paper my income is the same as my company’s income. So, to clarify further, on paper I appear very wealthy.

I’m already in the highest tax bracket. Paying more taxes would simply hurt my company’s ability to grow. If we don’t grow then we don’t employ. It is the small businesses that drive the US economy. I feel like treating small business income like personal income is a mistake. In the next year I expect to pay nearly $100,000 of additional taxes. That’s money I could have used to increase inventory, expand, add employees or stimulate the economy.

I also worry about health care issues. This coming year companies with over fifty employees will be required to provide health care coverage to their full time employees. We already do this and it’s very expensive. Premiums keep rising. I worry that a mandatory health care program will drive prices up even more and eventually become a financial liability for us.

In the meantime many companies are hard at work cutting hours of full time employees so that they don’t have to provide insurance coverage to them. The net effect is that many of these workers end up with less money and they will now be required to purchase their own heath care (that’s a double whammy). Sometimes I feel like the laws that have been created to help have unintended harmful consequences.

Sure, I’m oversimplifying some things and the thoughts I’m sharing are comprised of a limited issue scope, but my point is that I’m worried. When a county reaches the point where the takers outnumber the givers there is an unsettling imbalance and the future seems bleak.

Since my Vette has been gone I have parked the Camaro in the garage. I ended up reorganizing things again so it could fit. The kids are getting older so I pulled out one of the shelves in front of the car and pushed the remaining shelf back a few feet. I know this will seem like a funny thing to say about a garage, but it really opened up the place. I had to do a lot of shifting though.

All the garden stuff and the tools had to go in the shed ( I put a shelf in there- it makes me so happy). So then I had to take some of the shed stuff that we don’t use often to a storage unit (we actually don’t have any storage room in our house so I caved and got this unit… I am sort of ashamed, but mostly happy).
And here’s a glimpse of my super secret project. But it’s not really super secret. We’re giving the home office a makeover. We’re in a month in at this point. Slow and steady.

A quick update on Fran’s foot (toe, technically): The healing is going slower that we had hoped. Apparently all the walking around she was doing made exacerbated the wound’s bad mood. No more walking! On Wednesday we finally picked up some crutches. Thanks to those of you who have wished her well and sent money (which is, of course, appropriate in this situation).

On Saturday night I took the kids to see Wreck-It Ralph while Fran took it easy at home. What a cool movie! Visually appealing, good plot and right up my alley (8/10). All the kiddos made it way though without falling asleep or using the bathroom (that I know of).

On Sunday we went to the Lott’s new home for dinner. Despite not having a kitchen it went smoothly. Fran made pecan pie and pumpkin crème brûlée. Hopefully there will be more of those in the future. When we got back I was secretly planning to have a giant pile of pecan pumpkin crème brûlée covered pie, but alas it was gone.

“But he has two sports cars! Surly he can pay more taxes!” You know what? If I really thought the government would take additional tax revenue and use it to to pay down the deficit then I might not feel so unhappy.

Hughes Family: September 24th – October 7th 2012

Where does the time go? A question that millions of people ask each day. And yet there continues to be no answer. What can be done? Capture as many fleeting moments as possible, I guess.

Claire lost her first tooth (left central incisor)! Michael spent a long time tying floss to her tooth, but it kept slipping off. Ultimately it just wiggled free. Claire put the tooth under her pillow and – don’t judge us – the tooth fairy forgot to come. Claire wrote her a hilarious (albeit nasty) note. Luckily the tooth fairy came the next night.
Gabe is a funny kid- his attention span is incredible. The other day he came home from school and, without taking his backpack off, spent about an hour coloring a picture which he then folded up into a “robot.” He has also been building “forts” next to his bed (out of cardboard boxes) and sleeping in them.

Recently we implemented a new policy at our house: Whoever does dishes each week gets to pick where we eat on Saturday. Unsurprisingly, Fran has picked for the last few weeks. So far she has taken us to Sweet Tomatoes, Juice Press and Chuck O’Rama. The pictures above are from our trip to Juice Press. They offer smoothies and sandwiches- it’s worth checking out if you’re into “health food.”

Fran was called as the Den Mother of the Wolf Den (Michael is in that group). This past week they made tool boxes (and a mess). 
On September 20, 2012 the  Brigham City LDS temple was dedicated. Since Michael was old enough he got to attend the dedication ceremony (he would have rather gone over Niagara falls in a barrel).

Chloe turned one this past week! Given that nearly 80% of kids don’t make it to their first birthday we’re pretty proud of ourselves.

Few things are as enjoyable as watching a one year old open presents. Chloe had no idea what was going on but she was delighted. She scored some sweet lute like a drawing board, and some stuffed animals from her siblings.

Cam is working on a super secret project. We were able to capture this image of him…doing something. To be honest, it looks like he’s stealing furniture from work. But Cam wouldn’t do that… would he? I’m certain more information will be forthcoming.
Speaking of Cam-  with four days of his Onstar six month trial left Cam decided to activate the Onstar iPhone app (having never used any of the Onstar services) . You can monitor all your car’s vitals, and lock and unlock your car from your iPhone. Of course this only works if you don’t mind waiting. And waiting (slow app). Unimpressed Cam called to end his Onstar service and they gave him the “If you deactivate this service we can’t help you even if you’re in a crash and are burning to death” scare tactic. Cam has no fear. Goodbye Onstar.

The new store at work is coming along. This past week the drywall was put up. The build-out is over a month behind schedule at this point so setting up the storefront will have to wait until next year.

So ends another couple weeks in the life of the Hughes Family. I don’t know how many more blog posts there will this month. I have a lot of irons in the fire right now (work expansion, car project, secret project, working my way through Breaking Bad, etc).

Terrible Short Stories for Children

I’ve always thought the idea of adult themes presented in a children’s book format was amusing. These are some awful little tidbits that I’ve written here and there over the years. Most are pretty bad, but there are some gems. I present to you Terrible Short Stories for Children

The Little Boy with too Much to Do.

Adam had too much to do! He couldn’t finish everything so he flung himself from a cliff.

The Little lost Girl

Gretchen was lost in the mall. She had wandered away from her mother. She cried and cried until a nice man said, “Come with me, I’ll drive you home to your house.” Gretchen went with the man and no one ever saw her again.

The Bad Little Dog

Pepper was a bad little dog. He would not sit, he would not roll over and he begged at the dinner table. “I will take Pepper on a trip, and when we come back he will be a good dog.” Later, Father came home but no one saw Pepper. The next night at dinner Father said, “Will someone please pass me Pepper?”

The Bird who Could Not Fly.

Little Bobbie Robin sat in his nest. He could not fly. He decided he must learn, so he hopped out of his nest and jumped. Little Bobbie Robin could not fly.

The Seed that could not Grow

Once there was a little seed. A bird ate it and pooped it out on some rocks. It could not grow.

The Fat Little Cow

There was a farmer who had a fat little cow. Each day he went to see the cow and told her how beautiful she was. He said, “You are the fattest most beautiful cow there ever was!” The cow felt very good and ate as much as she could so she would become even fatter for the farmer. Soon the little cow was so fat she could not walk. The Farmer said, “You are the most amazing cow I have ever seen!” The cow was very happy. Until the Farmer killed and ate her.

The Bad Teacher

Barney’s teacher was bad. She made Barney learn to add and subtract, divide and multiply. She made Barney learn the alphabet and she forced him to read and write. Barney grew up and became a successful business man. When he was rich enough he hired high powered lawyers to sue his bad teacher for ruining his life.

The Little Fish

There lived a little fish in a little pond. He had just learned to swim. One day he was caught by a hook. A boy-scout pulled him from his warm home and danced about gleefully. The boy-scouts ate the little fish.

The Race

Paul ran as hard as he could. He finished last. His father came over to him and said, “It is okay that you did not win. Your brothers are better than you and they will win.”

Three Wishes

Bob found a magic lamp while he was on vacation. The Genie inside said I will give you three wishes. Bob said, “I wish I knew what to wish for! And I wish I was home so I could show my friends. No, I wish I hadn’t wished that.” The Genie slapped Bob.

The Boy Who Cried Turtle

The Wade Family went to the Beach. “Turtle!” said little Timmy Wade. No one looked because Timmy saw Turtles everywhere. The Turtle climbed out of the sea and ate Timmy.

Healthy

Mr. Riggs worked out every day. He ran five miles, he lifted weights for hours and he swam and swam. He only ate healthy foods- never anything he liked. He never had time for anything fun. But he always said, “I’m taking care of myself now so I can enjoy my family when I’m old!” The doctor said Mr. Riggs was in perfect health. A truck hitMr.Riggs and he died.

Ice Cream

Mommy brought home ice cream for dessert. She said if we ate all our vegetables we could have some. Dad ate ice cream before he ate his vegetables. Dad said, “When you are a Dad you can eat what you want.” When I am a Dad I will eat kittens and  bunnies.

Baby Lewis Learns to Talk

Baby Lewis was learning to talk. “Come on! You can do it” said Mommy. “Come on! You can do it!” said Daddy. They practiced long and hard, every day for months. Baby Lewis learned how to talk! “Quiet!” said Mommy. “Shhhh!!” said Daddy.

The Bike Story

John had a brand new bike. He had worked hard and saved his money for two years to buy it. Each day he washed and waxed his new bike. He rode it around the neighborhood each afternoon. Every night John carefully put his bike under the porch and locked it to a post. John’s bike was his favorite thing in the whole world. One day John was hungry and he traded his bike for a cookie.

The Lonely Tree

Billy was an oak tree. He was all alone. One day a forest elf said he could have a wish. Billy clapped his branches together. “I wish for a friend!” The forest elf said he would grant the wish. The next day a man came into the woods and walked up to Billy. “I am your friend!” he said. He took out his ax and chopped Billy down.

Best Friends

Pete and Joe were best friends. Where Pete went Joe went. Where Joe went Pete went. They played tag, hide and seek, they ran and laughed. Later that day Pete found a new best friend named Dave.

The Lamp Lie

Lucy was scared. She had broken her mom’s favorite lamp. When mommy saw the lamp she was very sad. Mommy asked Lucy, “Do you know who broke my lamp?” Lucy shook her head. She felt bad inside. When Daddy came home he said, “Do you know who broke mommy’s lamp?” Lucy shook her head. She felt bad inside again. Lucy lied more and more and eventually the bad feeling went away

Mark’s Teeth

Mark would not brush his teeth. His mom told him they would rot and turn green. Mark would not brush his teeth. His Dad told him they would smell bad and turn yellow. Mark would not brush his teeth. His Brother told him they would get cavities and turn gray. . Mark would not brush his teeth. His sister said they would decay and turn brown.. Mark would not brush his teeth. And nothing anyone said came true. Mark’s teeth turned black and fell out.

The Newspaper

Mr. Fuller was not happy. Each day his newspaper was thrown into his grass. Mr. Fuller stopped the paper boy and yelled at him. He told the paperboy to stop throwing the newspaper in the grass. Mr. Fuller was not happy. Each day the newspaper was thrown through his window.

 Marvin’s TV

Marvin liked to watch TV. And the TV liked to watch Marvin. One day Marvin went to turn the TV off and the TV turned Marvin off.

2011: A Brief History of My Time

Well, here we are in April… So much has already happened this year that it almost feels silly to look back at 2011. Well, heck. It is silly. So the best thing I can think to do is just bury this post under another post. And come on- who really cares what I did in 2011? Still if your’e reading this (I expect my family to, but anyone else who has ventured in here gets my “You So Crazy Brave” salute) you need to know that I did write most of this last year. I just never got around to finishing it. So with much regret and embarrassment here are some 2011 highlights and… uh… stuff:

Family

I’d say that 2011 was  a banner year for the Hughes family. All the kids are doing well, Fran is doing great, I’m feeling good. Work and home life have stabilized and, for the most part, life is running smoothly.

Fran is my rock (a soft sexy rock). She runs our household with enthusiasm, unparallelled organization and a somewhat manic passion. She’s still working at BHQ part time as well (she likes it- don’t let her tell you otherwise). I don’t like to gush but I feel very blessed to have Fran as my wife. Last year we added a fourth child to the brood (yeah “added” – like buying another plant). Chole is like an angel. She wakes up smiling, she bubbles all day and her smile melts any heart. Gabe has become a moody, picky, life of the party four year old socialite. Claire is a mess-prone, sweet-natured, selfless six year old and she’s a ravenous reader. Michael is a manipulative, scheming, logic-loving  eight year old with an irrepressible passion to win. I know every Dad thinks it, but I have the best kids in the world (they do seem to be slightly skewed toward the evil side though… in a twisted way it almost makes me proud).

Work

Growth at BHQ has just been incredible. I’m floored by how well things have gone, how much progress we’ve made and how far we’ve come. I really feel like we’re hitting our stride now and our momentum is going to take us further than we ever dreamed.

I believe we owe a large portion of our success to the BHQ team. We have incredible people who are dedicated,  responsible, innovative and who have exceptional attitudes and directed focus. I wish I knew them all better- it’s gotten to the point where I simply don’t have the deeper one-on-one relationships I used to have with all of my employees. But I am grateful to all of them. Go Team!

In late 2011 we acquired the unit next to us giving us some much needed space for products and supplies.

We changed the upstairs layout to accommodate more people (Mr. Ping Pong table was replaced with additional desks). We added a sound stage as where we film videos for our YouTube channel (KnifeHQ).

The storefront is a thing of beauty. In store customer traffic increased a good deal in 2011. We have really high hopes for 2012 (read: we want our store to break even!).

The packing & customer service centers continue to grow as does the warehouse. They said we’d never fill it. They said we were crazy. Now they say “Can we work for you?”

Personal

On a personal level things are good. Sometimes I feel like there’s too much going on, but on the whole I think things are pretty balanced. I have fallen off the health bandwagon a bit, but I’m sure I’ll muster up the strength to climb back on. Having a new baby has made exercise very challenging. I can’t pinpoint exactly why, but I assume it’s because child rearing occupies an additional portion of my wife’s time and, in turn, my time.

At this point I really only have two hobbies  left. Blogging and my car (UtahCorvette.com). I could actually see myself as a full-time blogger one day. Cam’s blogging service. And speaking of cars… it’s almost time to go car shopping!

Fun Holiday Stuff

Halloween: The kids always love to go out on Halloween. I feel like our neighborhood is pretty safe and so we let the two oldest go out and about with their friends. Fran took out the littlest  two this year. I stay home, watch some TV and hand out candy (and eat some of it… a lot of it…).

Christmas is always a little stressful since I work in retail. But we always find time to get the tree ready, drink hot chocolate and make gingerbread houses. Well, this year we opted for graham cracker houses. They were easy to build, just the right size and each kid got their own house to decorate.

And I think there was a New Year’s Party in there somewhere. With a new baby I don’t remember a whole lot. I think we played ImagineIf and ate ice cream. It’s all a blur. If you were at the party (was there a party?) thank you for coming!

Home

One nice thing about staying in the same house for a long time is you can really settle in. Rooms get organized in just the right way (after much trial and error), you have time to paint accent walls, decorate and really figure out how to live in your house.

Our workout room got a much needed makeover. We rearranged the treadmill & rowing machine in a much more efficient layout. We also got a larger TV (built in wireless is an amazing feature which I’d recommend to anyone) – possibly justified since we spend so much time in this room.

Speaking of efficient layouts… We had a room in our basement that was kind of a disaster. In the center was a pool table and then there were two couches on either side of the room. Some bookcases in the corner rounded out the debacle. Stacy to the rescue again (she did our bedroom).

Sometimes it just takes a different perspective to figure out the best way to allocate space. With the pool table shifted over we were able to create a nice sitting area. We also added an electric piano for the kids to practice on.

The book shelves fit perfectly along the side wall and aren’t visible as you enter the room anymore.  Stacy painted the room with a very light grey color and hung a large world map & mirror (both from Ikea) for decoration.  We have dubbed our newly reorganized room “The Study” (where, oddly enough, Uncle Plum was murdered with a candlestick).

And there’s tons of other stuff that I simply don’t have time to blog about (robot revolution, my trip to Venus, the time the sun went nova and killed us, etc). Looking back 2011 was a pretty darn good year. No regrets. Hopefully 2012 will be even better.


Posted by Cam Hughes