The Picpic table

Among the many projects I completed around the house this summer, the "picpic" table (as Cali calls it) is one of my favorites. Just in time for the weather to turn to poor, I finally got it put together. Hopefully, we can have a few dinners outside and enjoy it before winter. I had to buy one new board and new bolts and screws. I painted the legs white with spray paint that was left here. I used our leftover green paint from our doors for the table and benches.


The original table was left here by the previous owners and was in a sad state.


Yeah, that's homemade ice cream the kids are eating. Yummy. Have a Good Life.

Official Results for the ULCER

It sure is frustrating how your average is really good until you factor in all the stops. This was a great ride. I am really glad I participated and finished.




Me to wife: I want the kids to go to bed so I can eat some of that I-C-E C-R-E-A-M.
3 YO Daughter: I want some of that!
Me: Some of what?
3 YO: Some of that stuff with letters in it!
Me: What is that stuff that has letters in it?
3 YO: It's…C-O-N-I! Yummy!

A lot has changed in a year.

Last year, May 2010, I walked during lunch at work and rode my bike after work, some days. I also weighed about 250 pounds. In 2010, I rode 700 miles on my bike and I was pretty proud of myself. I rode 300 miles in 2009.

So far this year, I have ridden over 400 miles; close to halfway to my goal of 1000 miles this year. I am down to 215 pounds now, and I feel great.

This has been a good year.

My First Infographic

EBLinfograph update.pdf Download this file
Even though I am not a graphic designer, I really appreciate the opportunity try to rub shoulders with those types of people. I like to read the things they share and analyze how they approach tasks and design.
In education, design really takes a back seat. Sometimes, even in the trunk. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule.
I fancy myself as someone who pays attention to good design, and I think about it. "Thinking about it" is usually 95% of the solution. If you just look at it and think for a moment, you're more than most of the way there.
So, Piper and I got an assignment to collect and present some information on the time our office has spent on professional development with teachers this year.
I compiled the data from 18 people and put it into a spreadsheet. We used Numbers, Pages, and Acorn to create the infographic.
I haven't ever used Acorn, but I bought it a few weeks ago, and I have been waiting for an opportunity to use it. I am glad something presented itself.
The infographic itself is a Pages document (11 x 17). The images are from some image pack I downloaded years ago, but haven't had any reason to use. To get the triangle graphs, I had to create them in Numbers, then paste an image of them into a Pages document and "Mask with Shape..." to get them right. I wish I could mask graphs in Pages (or Numbers) with a shape. That would be really nice. I tried to do it in Acorn, but I couldn't figure that out either.  Piper pulled the + signs from somewhere and Instant Alpha-ed the white background so they looked better.
I thought it was pretty fun creating it. Even though it took a long time to do, it was worth it. I learned a lot, and created something beautiful in the end.
Here is the Prezi my boss used in the presentation to the principals in the district:


Good thing we didn't get rid of our girl clothes. #itsagirl September 13th is the due date.

When iPads aren't successful as eReaders


From this post:

Was the integration of an E-Reader an enhancement or detraction to the academic experience?

The responses were mixed. On the one hand, students liked using the iPad to house their textbooks and suggested it promoted more reading. [I'd venture that they could read more because they were actually able to have their books with them at a time when they otherwise wouldn't] On the other hand, reactions from the beginning-of-the-semester expectations of planned use to the end-of-the-semester actual use saw e-book reading exhibiting the greatest change, a substantial decrease. Students thought they would use the iPad as an e-reader but did not do so as much as initially planned.

What was said later about pedagogy needing to change with technology was spot on:
", pedagogy and curriculum each have influence on the other. If you're not able to modify your teaching methods or curriculum to take account of new technology, that's a barrier to getting the maximum utilisation out of these devices."

If the iPad-as-textbook is just the textbook loaded into iBooks, with nothing else changed, the iPad is no better for reading than a textbook; it is probably a worse reading experience (with the only benefit being that the iPad is lighter than a textbook).

If the textbook is just a PDF opened in Noterize or PDFNotes, then it is already much better, as those two programs are designed for annotating a PDF.

If the textbooks are in something like Inkling, where there are additional multimedia supports (videos, pictures, interactive images, etc.) then it is even better.

It is probably best when the book adapts to the new technology like the book "Our Choice", which clearly appears to be the best "book" reading experience on the iPad.

I hope the image explains it better than I could.

Salt Lake City Bike Tour

In conjunction with the Salt Lake Marathon, there is a Salt Lake City Bike Tour: 25 miles that goes pretty much along the Marathon course. It is not a race, as they told us numerous times, but it is an organized event that you have to pay to participate in. It was the first organized, large-scale cycling event that I have participated in. I think I did pretty well. According to iMapMyRide, it was just under 24 miles, not the 25 that were billed.


Since this was my first organized ride, I knew I wanted to push myself harder than I do when I usually ride. It took me 1 hour and 20 minutes to ride 23.87 miles, which is 17.9 mph average. It certainly helped that this ride was mostly downhill, with not much uphill. I wanted to hit 17 mph as my average, so I am pleased with 17.9 for myself.

The ride started at 6:00 am, and it was raining for the first 20 minutes or so. Luckily, there wasn't much wind, and the temp was right around 50 degrees. It was still chilly with the rain, but not as cold as I thought it would be. To keep warm, I had a long-sleeve shirt under my jersey, calf-high dress socks, and plastic bags in my shoes (to keep the wind out; it is a lot cheaper than toe covers), and a handkerchief over my head to keep that warm as well. I stayed pretty warm, once I got going.

For me, this was a big deal to ride with a bunch of other people and be able to keep a good pace. I tyipcally ride by myself, and it was great to be around other cyclists. I have not participated in any of these organized events because I never feel like I would be able to keep up with anyone. I felt like I was a pretty average rider in that group. I passed some people, and got passed by some others. I hit a small wall at about 20 miles, and I felt that I couldn't keep up the pace. So, I found someone who seemed to be going fairly fast, and decided I would stay with them. That really helped. I did stay with them and we were going about 20 mph the whole 2.5 miles I stayed. After getting some rest by following them, I was able to take off and finish the ride pretty strongly.

While on the bike, I ate 1 Clif bar, and drank one water bottle of Powerade. I had bread, jam, an orange, half a banana, and yogurt before the race. I didn't get a side ache, nor did I feel like I ate too much. The only time I stopped was for a potty break about half way through.

I am really glad I did something out of my comfort zone and tried something new. It is a lot different when you don't have to worry about traffic lights or cars while you ride. I enjoyed that, and I look forward to riding in more organized rides.

Bonus: My wife took me to the starting line, and then had the kids meet me at the finish line. I am really lukcy that she's willing to do that. She is so supportive of me, and that is great to have.



My Wife Geeking Out with @imockups

So, my wife is a pretty good scrapbooker. She recently was asked to create a scrapbook layout for, to which a large portion of our paycheck goes each month (just kidding; I am lucky she is wise with what she spends there). I used an app for designing our work web site called iMockups. I told her it might be worthwhile to try using it to create the wireframe for her scrapbook layout. She typically takes my app suggestions and does nothing with them since she likes to be her own person (an admirable quality).

Well, eventually, she bought the app for her iPad and she struggled with it a bit, and then we figured a couple different things out. Below is her scrapbook page layout.

Since she has made this layout, she made about a dozen more layouts, and then started plotting out what our backyard is going to look like as we add a garden next year. I am fascinated that she took this tool that is expressly designed for mobile apps and web pages, and used it for her own creation. She made it work, and created a lot of really neat layouts. In addition to that, she also helped me understand her vision for our backyard, which is great, since I have to do all the work to get it to that point.

I am constantly impressed by how something like the iPad, which seems so limiting at first (no keyboard, weak processor, small memory, consumption-only device), can actually allow people who aren't really geeks to be creative in their own special way. It is inspiring.

April Fools


I guess the real April Fools joke is that it was Spring!

That is going to be a cute baby come Sept. 13.


Right now it just looks like an alien.


Right now it just looks like an alien.

World Down Syndrome Awareness Day

Today is 3-21, World Down Syndrome Awareness Day. 3 meaning the number of the 21st chromosome. 

Almost five years ago, Katya was born. 

The whole time my wife was pregnant, we both thought there would be something not right with our child. We didn't know what it was, but we thought it was something. When the doctor told us it was Trisomy 21, my first thought was, "What is that?" But my second thought was, "Phew! At least we finally know!" We feel very blessed to have felt that something was not right. The Lord was looking out for us as it made coming to grips with that news much more bearable. 


The last five years have been nothing but great for us. We do worry about things, but for the most part, Katya is just our daughter, and the fact that she has one extra chromosome just means there is a little bit more of her to love. The first couple weeks when she was in the NICU were difficult, and we didn't know what the future would hold. 


We quickly learned that Katya would bring happiness to us more than anything. 


The above picture is one of my favorites. She is so peaceful sleeping. Just thinking about her brings peace to my heart. She doesn't judge anyone; she just loves everyone. It makes it very easy to fall in love with her every single day. 


By her first birthday, we were very anxious for her to start developing. All she did at this time was sit up; she didn't really roll around, or move, she just sat there all day. It helped us be humble, and celebrate the little milestones when they did come. We were already pregnant with her younger sister, and we were sure that a little competition would be good for her. 


Katya has shown us that although she will have troubles, she will be mostly normal like other kids. She'll make us laugh, make us cry, and she will want to learn. She has loved books for as long as we can remember and now that she is in preschool she is getting better at understanding the idea of reading a book. Each night when we read scriptures, she wants to read them with us, and points to words in the book and says what she thinks they mean. Being in education, I have felt great concern about her education. As I mentioned earlier, I have learned to be patient and allow her to develop at her own pace. I have learned that she will learn things in her own due time. She may be behind other kids, but she still can learn, just like any other kid. 

Katya's happiness infects other people. Whenever we are out in public, people smile almost nonstop as soon as they see her. I joke with my wife that if she ever leaves me a widower, I'll have no trouble finding a wife as long as I take Katya out with me. She is a magnet for all kinds of people. Old women in Costco have asked to kiss her (awkward - the request was more of a notice--I could do nothing to stop it).  


Katya is almost 5. She will start Kindergarten this year. She has spent the last two years learning all kinds of great things in preschool. I am nervous for how other students will treat her. I already notice it happening more and more now than ever before. People will be mean. People will be mean to all my kids. It is sad, but that is life. Katya teaches me that I can let it roll off my back, just like it rolls off her back. 

I haven't thought for a long time what it would be like if she were normal, because to us, she is normal. She is our first kid, and we didn't know any different for a long time. Now that we do, we are amazed at how unique each of our kids are. They have their own personalities. 

Every so often, an adult gets brave and asks what they should tell their kids when they ask why Katya is different. I find it easiest to relate it to themselves. Think of how you have one color hair and someone else has another color hair. Think of how peoples' eye colors are different. Think of how one person is very tall, and another is very short. Think of how some people are very athletic, while others may be very smart, or very whatever. What makes Katya different is what makes her unique, just like every other person in the world.

Right now, most people can't understand what she says. Someday, they will. Right now, she can't jump very well. Someday, she will. I pray that I will still be lucky enough to share those momentous occasions with her. 


Have a Good Life. 

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It is amazing how easy it is...

It is amazing how easy it is to ride my bike when I am not kneeing myself in the gut with every revolution. This picture is my phone's view as I am riding. I use to track my distance, pace, speed, and calories burned. I rode home from the dinosaur museum today after going there with my kids. I thoroughly enjoyed riding again, and it seems like it is has been forever since I have been able to ride. I bought a long-sleeve compressor shirt for $5 at WalMart the other day, and it worked flawlessly. Last year, I only had a sleeveless shirt to wear when riding, so my season ended pretty early as it was too cold to keep going. 

Last summer, my first ride was on March 15th, and I ended on September 13th. I rode 588.4 miles (or 562.54 according to in that time. My goal this year is to ride 1000 miles before I am done. I am pretty sure I can do it. I am going to ride the ULCER this August, which is 100 miles, so that will pad my numbers pretty easily. Last year, I also did a lot of rides with the kids in tow, which caused me to do short, 6-mile rides. I won't be towing them this year as it cost me too much money in wear and tear on my bike. 

I am really excited to see how I do this summer. I am looking forward to spending a lot of time on my bike. I enjoy it so much, it doesn't even seem like exercising (except when I am going uphill, that isn't as much fun).

This morning I was at 217 pounds, which means that the weight is finally starting to come back. I need to keep it off, and this exercising will certainly help that. 


I didn't know I had it in me


For the last few years, probably since my freshman year of college, I haven't believed that I could run, unless I have been playing sports (i.e., running with a purpose). My lack of belief in myself is probably one of the major reasons for my obesity since college. But, recently, as I have shown myself that I can lose all this weight, I have come to realize that I really can do anything I put my mind to. That is truly fascinating to me. I have always believed that my mind is the most powerful thing in me, but for some reason, I have been afraid, or whatever, to actually put that into practice. I have avoided letting my mind be in control. I have made excuses for why I cannot do something.

So, we needed some stuff from the store tonight, and I still needed to workout, so I decided to go on a walk. When I realized the store was only about a mile away, I decided to run to the store instead of walk there.

So, I bought the lactose free milk for the baby and some Fels Naptha for the homemade laundry detergent, and then ran back home with it. It was more downhill on the way home, but I still ran pretty much the whole way. It was still hard, but I did it, and sometimes that is what really matters.

Have a good life.

On Fathers-in-Law and Salesmanship

When it comes to a father-in-law, I really got the cream of the crop. He is such a good man, and I am really lucky to have the opportunity to learn from him. He is extremely patient, doesn't lose his temper, and is always polite and cordial (sometimes he even gets in nice fights, a term I "coined" but luckily UrbanDictionary is the true definitive source). 

Ralph knows how to get people to do what he wants. He is not pushy in the slightest, but he is incredibly wise and you can almost see that wisdom exude whenever he starts to give his experienced opinion. He is such a good salesman because he 

  1. Is not pushy.
  2. Has a wealth of experience.
  3. Sets you up.

When he thinks something should be done a certain way, he tells you. But, he is ever so careful to extremely sincerely say, "Now, I don't want to tell you what to do, but..." From some people, that could come off as "I don't want to tell you what to do, but I am going to anyway, and you better follow it because I am a genius!" That is not how he says it. The way he says it is more like, "You know, my good friend, I'd hate for you think that I see you as anything less than a genius, because I don't. You are so smart, and you probably already know everything I can think of, but I am going to tell you this anyway, mostly to reaffirm for your how intelligent you are..." I am not kidding, that is how he is. The way he introduces his ideas is so humble and stand-offish that the result is truly remarkable: I want to take his advice, at least most of the time. 

His ideas are usually based on a great amount of experience. Therefore, they are typically well thought-out, effective, and simple, so it would be a good idea to take them regardless of how they are presented. He doesn't need to be nice about it; he could just say it, and it would still be good advice. But his delivery is so effective that it doesn't even seem like a suggestion for action coming from him. 

It is inspiring to see how he operates. He would probably be horribly embarrassed if he saw that the title of this post said salesmanship, as he would likely consider my analysis of him a major insult. That I am even associating his communication style with something as connotatively horrible as "Salesmanship" would no doubt make him blush. 

And that is just something else that is good about him. 

Have a Good Life.

I bought some new shirts today


See that tag? That is an "M" …for medium. I haven't worn a medium sized shirt in a long time.

The Chopped Up Cow


The ~220 pounds of pure Utah Beef, filling up our freezer.

BYU Student Section Flash Mob all mixed up.

So, I have wanted to use the precision editor in iMovie ever since it was introduced in '08. The only problem is that I never use 2 cameras to shoot the same thing. Well, finally, I found multiple views of the same event, and so I gave it a shot. Here it is: 



I know I already mentioned this...

But, if you haven't checked it out yet, is pretty awesome. Code for a free month: EDUCBMF30. Glad that I got this trial from

My fortune


So, it looks like 214.6 is my stabilized weight. I was at 213.0 on Monday morning, and then by Wednesday, I was at 214.6, where I have stayed every day since. With my weight being 214.6, I have lost 27.0 pounds on this round of HCG. I would like to get down to 180, so I still have 34 more pounds to go. If I can do that, I will no longer fit my insurance company's definition of overweight.

I didn't do any exercising this week because I wanted to stabilize my weight by watching my caloric intake. I have felt the best when taking 1300 calories. I haven't been hungry and I have felt like I have more energy when I keep the calories that low. I feel like I have gorged myself whenever I get close to 1800 or 2000.

This week I hope to do some exercising and see if I can sneak off a couple more pounds before I start HCG again. and a Free Trial

I've got a free trial code for if you are interested. I am a member of, which is a site that gives you products to review. For the last couple years, I haven't been very engaged in it, but this offer caught my eyes. 

For the last year or so, I have been trying to teach myself how to code, which has been difficult at best. I am not very good at teaching myself stuff. I need someone to direct me and guide me. I like to have someone talking to me. So, what does is allow me to watch actual professors giving lectures. I think this is better than iTunesU in that it doesn't just put a camera up in their lecture hall and call it good. They actually get the professors into a room with a touchscreen monitor and a pen. So, you have three views in the videos, as shown in the pic below.  There is the computer monitor, which is an annotated slideshow, and then there is a camera on the professor. Finally there is a navigation window that allows you to skip forward in the presentation to different parts. 

Overall, I think this is a pretty good way to learn. In schools, it would be a good supplement if a student didn't get something. For a non-student student, it is a really great way to learn on your own. Allegedly, you can even make comments on the videos and have them answered by professors so that actual help is provided. I am not sure yet how that works in real life, but that is one of their plugs. 

Here is the best part: A school can have this in their labs for free. It costs $35/month or $240/year for home use. I really like the idea that this is free for schools. It is actually a pretty good marketing strategy because kids will never have enough time to watch all the videos in all the courses at school, and if it helps them, it would be a good way to get some help at home, at a much lower cost than a personal tutor. 

Courses are available in Math (from MathMagic to Basic Math all the way up to Calculus and AP Stats), Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Computer Science (HTML Training, CSS Intro, Java, JavaScript, Introduction to PHP, Wordpress Training). They also have many AP courses available. All the courses are focused on Science and Math. 

So, if you want to give it a shot, follow these steps: 

  1. Go to and click on "Create Account" or "Subscribe"
  2. Make sure "Basic Plan" is selected. (Code Will Not Work Otherwise)
  3. Enter your account information.
  4. Disregard "Payment Type", you will not be asked to pay.
  5. Below the "Continue" button, check "Special Billing" and enter EDUCBMF30
  6. Press "Continue" and you are done.

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Lose It! Weekly Summary for Week of Mon, Feb 14th


Weekly Summary for Week of Mon, Feb 14th

for Jethro Jones

Daily Summary
Budget Food Exercise Net +/- Weight (lbs)
2/14/11 512 508 0 508 -4 217.2
2/15/11 512 498 0 498 -14 217.2
2/16/11 504 538 0 538 34 216
2/17/11 496 521 0 521 25 214.8
2/18/11 496 564 0 564 68 214.8
2/19/11 489 511 0 511 22 213.8
2/20/11 484 513 0 513 29 213
159 calories over budget for the week
Lost 4.8 pounds this week
Nutrient Summary % Calories
Fat 77g 17.9%
   Saturated Fat 17g
Cholesterol 826mg
Sodium 4,554mg
Carbohydrates 458g 46.9%
   Fiber 93g
   Sugars 220g
Protein 344g 35.2%
Exercise Summary Calories
Total 0
Report generated by Lose It!. For more information or to sign up for your free Lose It! account, please visit


When I was about 11, my dad told me I was Jethro-centric. I didn't know what that meant, so he told me to look up Heliocentric. That self-centeredness has grown into self-confidence.

I don't believe there is anything that I cannot do. I believe that I can do anything I want to do.

In my religion, we believe that we existed before we came to earth and that we will exist after this life as well. One main outcome of that belief is we believe that our minds are more powerful than our bodies.

That is a long introduction the point of this post. I didn't cheat on this diet. Not once. Part of the reason why I didn't cheat is because I wanted to prove to myself that my mind is the one in control, not my body.

It is especially important for me to note that for a long time, my body was in control. My appetites ruled me, and I gave in, repeatedly. There are many reasons why the weight gain happened, but they don't really, matter, because they all lead to the same thing: my body ruled my spirit and my mind. That is backward. My mind and spirit should always rule.

Tomorrow morning I will have my new maintenance weight. I am excited for the weigh in. I was hoping it would 30 pounds less than when I started, but I am pretty sure it will be about 28 pounds. And that is a lot of weight to lose in just a few short weeks. I am really excited about this, and excited to keep my mind and spirit in control from now on.

Lose It! Weekly Summary for Week of Mon, Jan 17th


Weekly Summary for Week of Mon, Jan 17th

for Jethro.jones

Daily Summary
Budget Food Exercise Net +/- Weight (lbs)
1/17/11 500 0 0 0 -500 241.2
1/18/11 500 0 0 0 -500 241.2
1/19/11 500 0 0 0 -500 241.2
1/20/11 500 0 0 0 -500 241.2
1/21/11 500 0 0 0 -500 241.2
1/22/11 500 5,087 250 4,837 4,337 241.2
1/23/11 505 3,676 0 3,676 3,172 242
7,509 calories over budget for the week
Gained 0.8 pounds this week
Nutrient Summary % Calories
Fat 393g 41.2%
   Saturated Fat 124g
Cholesterol 878mg
Sodium 12,582mg
Carbohydrates 928g 43.3%
   Fiber 56g
   Sugars 320g
Protein 333g 15.5%
Exercise Summary Calories
Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred 30 Min 250
Total 250
Report generated by Lose It!. For more information or to sign up for your free Lose It! account, please visit