bp's science: hummingbird (v.1)

While staying at my dad's house this summer, Oliver and I had a chance to get up close and personal with a hummingbird. This was a rarity indeed! It was awesome to look at and neat to listen to.

And did you know that hummingbirds beat their wings up to 200 beats per second?

They eat about half of their body weight in nectar a day because they burn calories so quickly and are constantly eating. And for protein, they capture insects. At night, they go into a hibernation of sorts, where their heart rate slows and their body temperature goes down. This enables them to save lots of energy. In the morning, it takes them about 20 minutes to fully recover from the hibernation and the first thing they do once they wake up is...eat. How's that for getting the metabolism going?

Hummingbirds are amazing creatures and if you are interested in learning more, their is a great Nature program on hummingbirds that's worth 45 minutes.


Ciao Summer, Hello Fall

Goodbye summer, we loved you!

Today we wore our long pants and I've made pumpkin chocolate chip bread. Fall is officially here.


bp's science: social interaction = health (v.1)

I was recently watching a PBS show that was discussing how our health is effected not only by the food we eat or the exercise we do, but also by the area in which we live, the socioeconomic status of where we are located, and the strength of our social relationships.

I am always very interested when I read articles or watch programs where the topic is how our social relationships effect our lives. It is very clear that having healthy family relationships gives a person a leg up on health. The in-house support group that a good family provides does wonders for the heart (to say the least). But what's more is that the relationships one has in his/her community are just as important. Good family relationships will not do it alone. I was surprised by this finding, but it does make sense. Feeling a sense of community is powerful. It gives a sense of purpose, of belonging. It decreases a person's stress in everyday interactions, e.g., I know my kid's friend's parents so I'm not so worried when they go to a party OR I know the person who works at the bank so I can trust them. It's a bigger support group. The show stated an alarming statistic: Over 50 percent of all individuals felt like they had no one to talk to about serious concerns. How's that for carrying around all your pent up stress inside. Geez!

I can see that I made (and do make) decisions on certain things because of my social interactions. For instance, I worked at a really crappy job during a summer break from college because I liked the people I worked with. I stayed in an okay, run-of-the-mill, cinder block apartment during college for longer than I thought because I liked the people. Out here, when families are ready to move into bigger living spaces, they always want to "stay in the neighborhood" because they like the people or vice versa. Strong community relationships are key.

Can you see it in your life? I'd like to hear what you think as this is such a cool topic to me.


bp's science: forget the hiatus! (v.1)

While my bp's science posts were down for the month of August, I heard from not one, but many readers indicating that they actually kind of liked the science posts. I was pleasantly surprised. I got to thinking about this hiatus and how it needs to end. And how I'll be back every Tuesday with a scientific tidbit rain or shine (or earthquake or hurricane, both of which Jess experienced back east while we were away vacationing, sheesh!).

For this quick bp's science post, I'll share a neat video I took of a small crab we found as we were searching the tide pools in California.

Why hello there!


1 gram of protein = 4 calories

The other day Oliver offered the prayer on our dinner. After beginning, he said,

"Thank you for the protein."

I guess I've indoctrinated Oliver on the basics of nutrition a bit much. I realized this again when I told him that carrots were good for his eyes. He responded to that fact by sticking a carrot in his eye.

Food for a two year old makes sense if it's sweet (pancakes with lots o' syrup), neat to look at (spinach looks like a tree leaf), or a Goldfish cracker. Still, it doesn't hurt if I mention that milk will make his bones strong when he's eating lunch. But first, I guess I need to explain the meaning of "bones."


Fourth stop, extra days

With our extra days we spent more time with good people. We got to go to movies, visit restaurants, paint pottery, and celebrate our anniversary with the best waffle I've had this side of the Alantic.

Oliver and I extended our vacation several days after Jess had to head back home for work. We were bummed to see Jess go. To make the time away worth it, we tried and succeeded in filling our days and nights with good times.

Another trip to Bear Lake with my sister's family.

Playing in the backyard on the same play house I did as a kid.

Enjoying the porch swing and hot dogs.

A visit with good friends, including an intense game of ping pong.

Playing with cousins who ride all kinds of wheeled gadgets around their house. I wish I had taken a photo. It was awesome. Needless to say, Oliver was in heaven.

Going very fast in moving vehicles and whooping involuntarily. What is it about speed? Plus, seeing a mini air show and whooping involuntarily some more. I have got to get to another air show.

And finally, just enjoying the company of family. That's what these trips are about anyhow.


Third stop, Bear Lake

Ah, yes, the fun continues with another family reunion. This one was with Jess' family and it was a great time indeed. Complete with excellent meals, nifty lodging, and a couple of dips in the hot tub. I know I'm repeating myself here, but I'm ready for another one right away. What do you say guys? I'm pretty sure Bear Lake is covered in snow in January, but I think it begins to melt away come April. And what's a hot tub for anyway if to not warm you up? Right?

Highlights include, but are not limited to:
- Hot tub-ing (Oliver preferred to enjoy the hot tub through the filter hole)

- Being on the boat and wakeboarding (every family member, except Oliver who loved blowing the emergency whistle attached to his life jacket, tried out the wake board and I was thoroughly impressed)

- The fresh air, oh yes, the fresh air and the quiet (even though I talked and talked and talked)

- Pool time with uncles and grandma (finding water shooters in the pool was a definite plus)

- Holding a cute, very new babe (there's nothing like a new baby to make you smile)

- Badminton (what's summer without a game, or two, or three, or more?)

And again, that's not all. There was Top Shot, a late morning jog, raspberry shakes, a moose sighting on the drive up, water skiing, tubing, apple pie, board games, walks, grilled cheese for Oliver, pool noodles, throwing bread to the seagulls, conversation, jokes, and being together. I've got my eye on cabin 453 come this April.


Second stop, why not - part II

After an overall smooth drive from California, we arrived in Utah, and I went to sleep a little early. I was slated to run the Provo Trail Half Marathon the next morning. I resolved to finally run this race because, again, I needed something to put my mind to, a project to work on so to speak.

Unfortunately, I couldn't fall asleep that night. Isn't that always the case? The time when you need the most rest you inevitably don't get it. Ha! Anyhow, with 2 hours of sleep under my belt I got up and joined my brother-in-law at the starting line.

And we ran.

And ran.

And with 3 or so miles left, our marathon-runner sister-in-law joined us and kept our spirits up til the end. Here we are about 5 minutes after finishing (thanks to my sister-in-law for the photo).

Overall, very neat experience. And yes, I surprise myself when I think about how much I enjoyed the run. I felt good and it was a beautiful run. Splendid scenery, fresh air, and lots of watermelon at the end.


First stop, Newport CA

Let's just say I have been looking forward to my family's family reunion since we headed home from the one before last. And because we had so much fun this year, I am ready for another reunion right away. October anyone? Okay, maybe that's too early. January? Too cold. April? Well, until the next time, I'll be looking back on the good time we had this go around. A great time indeed.

Highlights include, but are not limited to:
- Froth riding (verb, the act of riding an ocean wave after it has broken, instead of right as it is breaking. This method is most commonly used by those who are new to the boogie boarding sport or who appreciate a "safer" experience, i.e., no wave tumbling into the sand).

- Oliver running into the ocean without hesitation (I tell you, this kid loves the beach)

- 30+ people on the beach, and all of them belonging to the family (and being pretty cool to boot)

- An early morning walk to the tide pools (the sleep demon wanted to fight against this excursion, but it was totally worth it)

- A great celebration luau (my sister went all out and we enjoyed our dinner as if we were on the island of Maui, Mahalo!)

- Tetherball (you're never too young or too old to play a rockin' round of tetherball . . . and lose, considering my game)

And that's just the tip of the iceberg: maple cookies, baby shower, Ford Edge upgrade, countless conversations, balcony reclining, laser-tag game in and around the common area, singing, robot dancing, beach holes complete with sinks, family photo, vacation staches, catching frogs, classic pizza, cartoons, jokes, and all-togetherness. See what I mean? Got to do this again soon.


It's about time, eh?

August blew by, and why? Because we were having lots of fun. I have adopted the European practice when it comes to vacation. That is, take the whole month of August off. Thanks to many, I'm at a place in my life when I can do that. Plus, I can't tell you how glad I was that Jess was able to get a couple of weeks off work to join us in our galivanting. Oh, it was much fun, complete with family good times, Balboa bars, lots of beach time, boat time, running and walking, early bird specials, scootering in the house, and relaxing on the back lawn at my childhood home. I've said it on this blog before and I'll say it again, Utah summers are thee best. And man! are those mountains green this year.

So hold on to your hats ladies and gents, there's going to be a lot of updating on this here blog in the next few days.

Oliver rolls our 30+ pound luggage through the airport