Hughes Family: October 15th 2012 – October 25th 2012

I don’t have time for this, but here’s another Hughes Family Update (HFU, for those of you who are obsessed with turning everything into an acronym). I think I might stop referring to myself in the third person since I moved all the HFUs over to this blog.

Fran and (some of) the kids pruned, pulled and plucked this past week. Winter is coming and now is the best time to batten down the hatches. Mike is a destruction expert so Fran had him rip everything out of the garden boxes. Too bad the kids doesn’t find the same pleasure in pulling weeds as he does ripping out vegetable plants. We will miss the green as winter takes a hold.

Fran started a new laundry initiative. The kids now have to do their own! Maybe this seems cruel, but they have to learn at some point. So far it’s been a struggle. The typical laundry pattern is demonstrated here by Mike. 1) Wait until there are absolutely no clothes left. 2) Beg mom to do your laundry, try to cut a “deal” and  complain about the injustice of life. 3) Finally wash your own clothes. 4) Remove them from the dryer while they are still wet. 5) Take them halfway to their final destination. 6) When there is no other option cram all the clothes into one drawer, wrinkles be damned. Yeah for chores!

Each year we hit up Cornbelly’s at Thanksgiving Point. This year they had a crazy amount of stuff to do and the corn maze was election-themed.

Mom and the kids (along w/ a few other groups) went to Cornbelly’s in the afternoon. The weather was extremely cooperative given the time of year. They rode 55 gallon drum trains, played in corn…

…rekindled old friendships, rode the zip lines, flew down giant slides and had a blast. Fran said there was literally too much to do this year.

That same night the adults met up for a corn filled romp. The temperature was so nice you almost didn’t need a jacket. That made for some big crowds though. Here I am with my yearly corn cob cigar (I pop it in my mouth and turn into an Arnold-Sylvester-esque tough guy who always seems to say the wrong thing at the wrong time).

Despite the crowds there was still a lot to do. We trekked our way though the four foot high corn maze (probably a result of the lack of rain this year). We threw corn at each other and spouted off a bevy of bad corn related jokes (corny jokes, if you will). We shot the corn and pumpkin cannons, worked our way through several mazes, played some volley ball, took a frightening (and bumpy) hay ride, admired the carved pumpkins and conquered the three story slide (I got injured, per my Cornbelly’s tradition). Fran rode the zip line and the mechanical bull too (videos below for your enjoyment).

A grand time was had by all. Each year I think we’re getting too old for Cornbelly’s and each year I remember that I’m wrong.

A few weeks ago I told the kids about how I used to make “guys” out of cardboard when I was their age. Sometimes they’d be ninjas, sometimes robots, but their fate was always the same – I beat them up (in retrospect I probably had some aggression issues). I don’t know if that’s why the kids made these paper people, but they were cute. I think some of them did get beaten up.
And then there was crazy hair day. Claire and Gabe got into it, but Mike was apparently too cool for crazy hair. I wish I had crazy hair.

Fall is a fun time. The leaves drop off the trees and you run outside in your underwear to rake them up the instant you notice. No time to spare when a leaf pile is at stake. I have incredibly fond memories of playing in leaves; I wish my kids had more than one tree for their adventures.
Chloe’s teeth are in full swing now. Two bottom are in and four are working their way out on the top. Babies without teeth are cut. But babies with teeth are cute too.

How Shopping has Changed…

Anyone shop? Yeah… I’ll bet pretty much everyone shops. I know that I do. And I’ve actually had a paradigm shift occur with regard to my shopping pattern that I wanted to share. Up until last year I hated shopping online (which is ironic if you note that I own and make my living from several online retail companies). I was a “buy it in the store” kind of guy even if that meant I had to drive to several locations and pay more to get my item. I wanted it right away and I was willing to pay a premium. Plus I felt more comfortable in a store where I could see and hold the product and, if it was unavailable, easily search for comparable alternatives.

I’ve copied my personal Amazon shopping history below. It might not be that interesting (and I realize it’s “long”), but it shows how my purchase volume has skyrocketed in the last year or so:

I can’t quite explain this shift. Maybe it was Amazon Prime? Getting most items in two days has been exceptionally convenient. Perhaps it’s the fact that things are almost never “out of stock.” There’s always somewhere online to get what I’d like. Maybe I’ve simply gotten more patient as I’ve aged? I don’t feel like I need things right away. Or maybe I realize the importance of saving time and money more than I used to? Shopping online tends to be cheaper and I don’t have to actually go anywhere- my purchase comes to me! I don’t know… but now I shop online.

In some ways the transition has been jarring. The other day I went shopping for a couch and a love seat. I made the sojourn down to R.C. Willey in Orem. As soon as I walked into the store I felt overwhelmed. How was I going to find anything? As I wandered around the floor I literally thought, “I need a search. I can’t sort by color, price, size or anything. I feel really uncomfortable!” Eventually someone offered to help me and he became my “search” and “sort” option. “Blue leather couch” I queried. Off we went around the store. I was able to complete my purchases in about two hours (including commute time). Somehow I was left feeling disappointed and aggravated.

A few days later I needed a second love seat. This time I checked out R.C. Willey’s website. They have (finally) added the option to shop online. I quickly sorted through their love seats, selected the color I wanted and reviewed the physical dimensions. Within three minutes I had concluded my shopping. I did drive down to pick the item up (I guess I still have a hard time waiting), but my online purchase left me feeling much happier. Go figure.

Anyway, I’m on online shopper now. If I switched then maybe other people are switching. People like me must be part of the reason why companies like Amazon are gaining so much ground. Even my “little” company is growing by leaps and bounds.  Customer continue to migrate to the web. I know, I know- that’s not an original idea, and it’s already backed up by tons of survey data. But now you can add my anecdotal experience to the evidence cache.

I can’t figure out why I waited so long. But even stranger is that I really don’t know why this shopping shift occurred or how I became so uncomfortable in physical stores.  Anyone else become an online shopper recently?

Hughes Family: October 8th 2012 – October 14th 2012

We had a pretty laid back week.  Work is taking up more of my time these days, but hopefully things level out.  Well, come to think of it with the Holidays almost here they will only get more hectic. Ah well…

Chloe took her first steps this past week! Fran had a gut feeling it might happen and so she actually captured it!

Claire lost her second tooth this past week (and the tooth fairy remembered to come this time). More and more often basement access is blocked by giant piled of couch cushions, pillows and blankets. Cam used to do this kind of stuff when he was a kid and this appears to be the much referred to “karma” that his Mom warned him about. Speaking of messes- something things get so bad that we use a snow shovel to scoop up all the crap on the floor (the carpeted portion of the floor) and have “throw away” parties. Yes, this is for real.

Fran picked Saigon Cafe for this week’s meal. Saigon is a little Chinese / Vietnamese restaurant down in Provo. We used to go there each week when we lived by it, but only make it down there every few months or so now. Good food.

Fran and the kids made some pies. It’s hard to figure out how helpful the kids are this point. When Gabe turned on the mixer is was definitely not helpful. The Apple pie is made with apples from our very own tree. Fun!

On Sunday we went to Cam’s parent’s house for dinner. Mom made delicious pulled pork, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and we at the pumpkin pie Fran made. Grandpa & Grandma gave Chloe a cute bear while Claire quickly adopted (as mentioned in another post Chloe doesn’t quite get stuffed animals yet).

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).