Wednesday, October 29, 2008


This week the Brown’s stopped by for a while during their hiatus from Hawaii. As always, we were ecstatic to have them over and loved getting caught up.

Nobody was more excited for this visit than Erin. With Cache and Clay in the house I don’t think Erin was any further than 2-3” from their faces. Honestly, I have never seen any one thing hold Erin’s complete attention for so long. She was eager to help Stacy feed them (sitting between them with a bottle in each hand), right in the middle of things when they needed to be changed, and then we couldn’t beat her away when it was bath time. Amy and I are glad they twins survived their first Erin experience.
During the Brown’s sojourn with us the kids broke out the Guitar Hero. Tyrel fancies himself quite the manipulator of the battle axe. He didn’t even pause while I took pictures of him playing in his underwear. Even funnier is he was playing songs from when I was in high school and told me several times which songs he thought were cool. How weird is it when your 9-year-old shares some of the same music favorites that you had in high school. I know this wasn’t the case for me when I was growing up.
It is easy to conclude that this game commands the player’s undivided attention. I took several photos of the kids but none of them were able to pry themselves from the game long enough to put their tongues back in their mouths or even look at me.
I noted that even when I played I was unable to answer Amy’s questions. The best thing about being the camera operator and the blog editor is no embarrassing photos of you will be published.

I’m still trying to talk Amy into being my groupie.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


We could not pass the UEA break without doing something more than the everyday. We decided the weather and time of year would be perfect for a short hike. After assessing the readiness of the troops, it was quickly decided the Emerald Pools hike in Zion’s National Park was the best trek for us.

Tyrel cornered a friend and convinced Dillon it would be a fun hike. We were off for a great adventure.

It was a perfect day for this short hike. The sun had already passed over that part of the canyon so this entire adventure was in the shade. We made it to all three pools and finished by evening without being rushed. Without exception, each group that passed by our little caravan commented on the “vigor” of the 3 lead hikers; they ran the Emerald Pools loop!

Despite reminders, Erin failed to grasp the concept that the tranquility of the stunning surroundings accompanied by the soothing sounds of the waterfalls are best savored WITHOUT YELLING every time there was something to say. Passersby were more amused than I was.

The highlight of the hike for Clubber Clyde were the pseudo deer that live in the park. From the zeal she displayed, I am convinced now more than ever that Erin will be my best hunting partner. These deer were good sports to play in Erin’s world. Her inability to contain her yells and big movements hardly stopped their routines.

I should have known better than to think we would escape this outing without drawing the attention of everyone. Erin committed the unpardonable in the national park world when she bellowed that I “needed to go get my gun and shoot that buck!” I think the world stopped; birds quit singing, foreigners scrambled for cover, the tour busses went silent, photographers dropped their cameras, park rangers cast scorned looks our direction, and infants and toddlers pointed fingers. With some applied skill, our clan made it out alive.

If you are wondering why we didn’t attempt a more challenging hike, take notice of Clubber Clyde in theSE photos. She gets that serious face from her mother!

Friday, October 17, 2008


Tyrel and the Crocodile’s soccer season is now history. Their final game ended with the Crocodiles short by a single goal. The memories, lessons, and experience are priceless.

In the days leading up to this game it was evident by Tyrel’s action that this championship game was on his 9-year-old mind. Since birth, Tyrel has not been much of a morning person. It takes him a while to get warmed up and get the cob webs out of thi shead. The days before this game were different. From the instant his feet hit the floor in the morning he was elaborating on how he thought the soccer game would go.

The big day came and the Crocodiles played tough and executed their game as well as they had at any other time during the season. These two teams were nearly identical in both athletic ability and skills; the ball was back and forth constantly with teams getting only 1 shot at a goal before the ball was kicked out to mid-field. You got the feeling from the opening kick-off that this would be a dead heat.

Parents, friends, and family packed the sidelines. From the size of the crowd you could have easily mistaken this event for a high school state championship game. Everyone was cheering for their team and player. Although we spectators brought chairs nobody ever used them to actually sit down. There were even a couple of dads who nearly marched a trench the entire length of the field. Vince Lombardi could not have been able to bring more focus to us parents.

I had to laugh at myself when I realized I was leaning, ducking, twisting, and hoping on one foot all in an effort to give that soccer ball more of that last needed bend or English. I quickly recognized I was in good company as most parents were in various steps of this same odd rhumba. At games end I may have expended as much energy as the players.

After the game it was evident Tyrel was disappointed. I attempted to help him realize there is no shame in being bested when you played your best. After my rambling, Tyrel elaborated by telling me he scored the winning goal for the other team. Apparently, his team lined up to defend against a corner kick. Despite their extensive practice the day before for this exact scenario, the Crocodiles treated the soccer ball like a dodge ball- except for Tyrel. With his line of sight blocked by his teammates he was hit by the ball without ever really knowing where it was. The ball caromed into the goal.

This problem was a “father test” I had not yet studied for. I stumbled through trying to help Tyrel realize that no amount of preparation or athletic ability will ever be able to fully counter pure luck. This is the lot to which all athletes are born.

A short talk steered Tyrel back to the easy-going, carefree personality...and the sun came up the next day.

Monday, October 6, 2008


The weather here went from warm and pleasant one day to undoubtedly fall the next. A blustery wind on Friday blew a storm in resulting in rain all Friday. This rain along with a drastic drop in temperature lasted for much of the night and most of Saturday. My grandfather always contended if you didn’t like the weather at the time just stick around a minute and it will change. No contention here.

The deer hunt for me ended without even firing a shot. It was a strange hunt as most of the usual water supplies had dried up. This means to find the deer you must find the water. I should have known that to find the water simply follow the roads where dust is deepest as that is what every other hunter is doing as well. Despite it being a tough hunt I enjoyed seeing places I hadn’t not been to since I was in high school and even some areas I had never seen. More and more hunting is less about filling my tag and more about the memories, stories, and company you keep during this short respite from the day-to-day.

A couple of these hunting afternoons were spent finishing the downstairs bathroom instead of tromping around in the mountains. Between setting tile, cutting trim, and paint touch-up I was finally able to finish this sanctuary (cleverly named as this is the last place in our house for an emergency escape). A magazine rack and suitable reading material are the last accoutrements required.

Tyrel and the Crocodiles are playing in the semi finals. Saturday’s game was more in the style played in England. It was cold and raining during this game. It was a slow start for the Crocodiles as they were held scoreless in the first half; however, they came out with a vengeance in the second half scoring 4 goals for the “W”.

Erin has enjoyed her newly acquired loot from her birthday. Sunday she was adamant about baking one of her new mixes in her Easy Bake Oven. It is great that this activity is able to hold her attention until the end. She certainly loves to bake with this oven and is quite smug with herself as the finished product is just enough for her.

Finally, Amy is run ragged with work, the demands of a Primary President, family duties, and whatever additional activities the kids have going. Most days we pass by each other in the early mornings as I climb into bed and she is just preparing for her day. Later, we attempt dinner as a family before I return to bed for a few more hours sleep before leaving for work for the night. We need a family vacation- HARD.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Erin Is How Old?

Given her time in grade, Erin has entered the stomping ground of 5-year-olds. I contend she has been playing in this arena for months. Days ago she had her 5th birthday! It was obvious to all in the Robinson house that nobody was more excited for this day than Erin. Amy, Tyrel, and I were held hostage to the imagination and wonderings of a very excited soon-to-be 5-year-old. More realistically, we couldn’t find peace from this child. I now know the total focus of a 5-year-old child during such times is miraculous. To add fuel to an already raging inferno, a few days before Erin’s birthday, we received a LARGE package in the mail. It didn’t take Erin long to put 2 and 2 together and realize whatever was in this large box was likely her birthday present. I don’t know if it was intentional, but Amy left that LARGE box out and unopened for days and Erin could not pass this box without letting everyone know she had decided her birthday present was inside. Even funnier, Erin would study the address label pretending to receive some inspiration as to the contents.

Eventually, Tyrel kicked Erin’s psychological tricycle in the ditch when he informed her the package was addressed to Amy Robinson and not Erin Robinson. That little curve ball left Erin speechless, but only for a split second. I confessed to Amy and I was tempted to hide this box and wrap a very small decoy box to give to Erin. I had second thoughts when I realized this would be very, very cruel. Erin’s big day finally came. It began like most days at our house - Amy’s alarm goes off, and off, and off for an hour or more before she finally shuts it off and gets up. Next, Erin shows up in our room shortly after 6:00 AM already fully dressed. Now is where this day was different. Instead of going to the kitchen and getting into food she shouldn’t be in to (e.g. pudding, cookies, the sugar bowl, etc), she was instantly working Amy like a rented mule to hurry and get ready so she could open her presents. When Amy was ready and Tyrel was able to fight the mattress monster off his back, we all met to watch Erin in an unwrapping fury. This ended soon enough and we all knew round 2 would start after work. Family came over in the evening for cake and ice cream and this unwrapping frenzy continued, this time with an added element of “tired Erin who did not get a nap.” We were all exhausted just watching her.
Looking back over the past 5 years I realize we enjoy Erin for her uniqueness. In fact, it is best explained by saying she is in many ways the opposite of Tyrel. I have learned that to enjoy one of our children you must also have experienced the other- otherwise, you only get half the experience with nothing to compare the other with. No doubt, one child makes Amy and I appreciate the other.

Each day Erin’s daytime activities defer to what is best described as combat sleeping. She is never under the bedding and she uses her entire bed when she sleeps. This girl twists, turns, and falls offer her bed each night. We discovered that the fire alarm going off over her head doesn’t even cause her to stir (oh how I long for that kind of sleep).
For instance, Erin will not be convinced she is wrong. As Jarod (a close friend) discovered during our Disneyland Trip a while back, Erin CAN swim, even when she is taking on water, coughing, and can’t touch the bottom of the pool. For those or you wonder, Erin jumped into the deep end of the hotel swimming pool without hesitation. To this day, she CAN swim in her own mind.
This year Erin played her first organized sport. Before her first soccer game, Tyrel told her to be mean when she was playing. This brotherly advice was unwarranted as Erin came out of the package more aggressive. She typically scores more goals than all other players (her team and the opposing team) combined. She is blessed with speed.

Amy and I have already started praying for whoever her kindergarten teacher will be next year. In her own words, she is “very smart” (I will add she is humble too, just ask her). I was informed by Amy that Erin counted to 100 the other day- without help. We opted to not send her to pre-school after we realized she already knows the alphabet and can also write each letter. Finally, colors came naturally to her as she spends a great deal of time coloring and painting.

Truly, we enjoy Erin’s imagination, her “in your face” personality, and her candor. We are blessed to have her. Happy 5th, we recognize the best is yet to come.