1. Eryka is the best thing that ever happened to me. Having her and the kids in my life makes all the hard things easier, like 80-hour work weeks and demanding bosses. Consequently, things aren’t much fun when she and the kids aren’t around.
2. I was always the dorkiest kid in high school. I’m still really dorky, but for some reason, after graduating from law school and landing a great job, dorky seems to be a lot better than it used to.
3. I used to beat up my younger brother all the time, and I would hurt him pretty badly. That all ended when I stopped growing and he didn’t and I didn’t want to be on the hurting end. I did it all out of love – it made him tougher and he became a pretty good football player. Really, that’s just my justification. I felt bad every time I hurt him, but he was just the most ready victim of my fiery temper. We never were friends as teenagers until we both served missions. I’m really grateful for the love and support I get from him now.
4. Before I left on my mission, my older brother was my best friend. I feel that we have drifted apart since I came home, mostly due to geographic circumstances. I miss the closeness we shared and will always treasure that time in my life.
5. I was always one of the quicker, more agile kids in high school, but I was scared to play football because I was one of the smallest in my class. I regret to this day that I did not play high school football.
6. I started playing the drums in middle school and have kept on playing ever since. I love good music in all its forms and selling my drum set before we moved to the east coast was very hard for me. But not that hard, because I made Eryka commit to letting me buy a new top-of-the-line drumset someday. That day hasn’t come yet, but it’s getting closer and closer.
7. I generally think I’m smarter than everyone I know, but would never consider myself an intellectual.
8. Pride is my greatest sin.
9. I don’t think I can ever measure up to my own, or other’s expectations of me and I am constantly plagued by my feelings of inadequacy.
10. I love fantasy novels, but find it really hard to discover truly talented authors whose writing, and target audience, is not purely juvenile. I now tend to read more science fiction and find it to be slightly, but only just slightly, more sophisticated. After all, this is popular fiction usually written by people out to make a buck.
11. I’ve never been a huge fan of non-fiction, and have a hard time picking up any non-fiction books. That said, the very best books I have ever read, hands down, were all non-fiction biographies or historiographies.
12. I love video games and will always be a fan of the Nintendo Zelda series.
13. I am very much a home-body. I could lie in bed for days straight reading a book. And the lack of productivity doesn’t bother me.
14. It’s always worth it when Eryka gets me out of home-body mode to go play in the park with the kids, go for a walk, or take an adventurous vacation.
15. I always get really depressed toward the end of March when the weather is still miserable and I am wishing it were spring already. It’s only when it really warms up in May and June that I start to pull out of my funk.
16. My favorite vacations involve a beach in the Caribbean where I can snorkel and see beautiful fish just off shore. We’ve done that twice now on cruises without the kids, and I’m excited to start bringing the kids along on future Caribbean adventures. Isaac and Stella are two very good vacationers.
17. I see a lot of myself in Isaac physically, but more of his mom in him in personality. At least when I’m with him, no one ever doubts that I’m the dad, unlike for Eryka, where people in New York always thought she was the nanny!
18. Stella is truly a gift sent from heaven. While I can’t get my son to sit down and watch sports with me, one of my favorite things to do with Stella is to snuggle up in my chair and watch sports highlights on the internet. She keys right into SportsCenter and I love it!
19. I am just like my dad with my devotion to BYU sports and it scares me. I’m not a fair weather fan, but they will probably never be as good as I want them to be and they will always frustrate me. But when they’re doing good, it sure is a lot of fun.
20. I think I look a lot like my brothers and sisters. Eryka disagrees.
21. I think I share a lot in common with my brothers and sisters as far as personality, wants and desires and life goals. Eryka doesn’t really think so.
22. Eryka probably knows me better than I know myself.
23. Web chatting with Eryka the other day I was reminded how hot my wife is and how lucky I was to trick her into marrying me. I still find it ludicrous that she would even find me attractive! Hey, some of us get lucky.
24. I was a really obnoxious younger brother: sniffling all the time, constantly coughing, making smart-aleck remarks, and just being a general bother. I’m surprised my older sisters let me live to adolescence.
25. One reason I was probably so annoying was that then, like now, I thought I was smarter than everyone else. I taught myself how to read when I was four because I wanted to participate in family scripture study – so the first book I was reading was the Book of Mormon. I was learning Algebra at five and some of my teachers wanted to skip me straight to 2nd Grade out of Kindergarten because they thought I could probably be making better use of my time learning new things instead of reading fantasy novels.
26. I will always be grateful to my parents for resisting the urging of teachers to skip me ahead in school.
27. I hope to always be an understanding and supportive parent. I’m scared I will project expectations on my children based on my experiences as a child.
28. Each time Eryka goes to visit family for an extended period, the trip manages to get longer, even though every time she goes I beg and plead with her not to leave me ever again for so long. I’m glad she gets to visit family. I just wish I could be with her.
29. I wish I could have more patience with Isaac.
30. I hope to be worthy of the unconditional, unfailing, smothering love than my children always shower on me.
31. My favorite thing any time of the day is to come home and have the kids get excited to see me.
32. My second favorite thing is to see the excitement on my kids’ faces when they come to visit me in the office (second favorite, because I’m worried the partner down the hall is going to get bugged with me – but not worried enough to keep the family from coming to visit).
33. I don’t like cleaning the house.
34. I like having a clean house.
35. I love paying someone else to clean my house – it’s worth every euro-cent.
36. Moving my family to Madrid is the hardest thing I have ever done. Harder than my mission. Harder than law school. Hopefully it will be as rewarding.
37. Moving to Madrid has been a tremendous blessing for our family. We are all learning Spanish, Eryka loves her calling in the ward (Young Women’s President), and I am blessed to be able to serve as well. We are growing closer together as a family because of this experience.
38. We are eagerly anticipating our return to the States.
39. I love living in the city. When I visited New York for the first time as a teenager, my sister Chrislynn and I swore we would live there someday. I made it. She almost did (she lives in New Jersey with her husband).
40. I frequently say I want to move back to the city, but I think I will be ready for the suburbs when we get back to the States. I’m actually looking forward to owning and driving a car.
41. I’m always a little jealous of how much help my other brothers and sisters get from my parents living close to them in Blanding.
42. I’ve had more help from my parents than all of my brothers and sisters – Mom and Dad let me drive around their nice truck when I got home from my mission, and all I paid for was a small portion of the payment and my own gas (they covered most of the payment and insurance). When Eryka and I moved to D.C. and needed to get rid of our car in a hurry, Mom and Dad graciously assumed our car payment. When Eryka and I spontaneously decided to move our family to Europe, only four months after signing a two year lease on a new Nissan, Mom and Dad graciously assumed the lease payments. My parents are the greatest.
43. Some days I really like my job, other days I hate it. Oddly, the days I hate it most seem to be the days that I’m not as busy and not staying as late. That might be because on those days, I wish I could just skip out of the office, but it’s kind of hard to do that when there are only three attorneys in the office.
44. I like to dance.
45. I don’t know how to dance and I look like a total goof when I try.
46. I pretend like I don’t really care what other people think of me, but I’m always very self-conscious, and always trying to please others.
47. It still bothers me that I never earned my swimming merit badge in Boy Scouts. For three years in a row I tried and failed. The only task I couldn’t complete was to dive to a depth of eight feet and pick up a rock. I still am not a strong swimmer.
48. I loved going on campouts with my family when I was a kid. It always involved driving to a semi-remote location that was still accessible by car, pitching a tent in a public campground, fishing in a nearby lake, and roasting marshmallows in a fire. Those were the best campouts.
49. After going on my first campout where I left the car parked at a trailhead and hiked ten miles with a pack before setting up a campsite in the remote wilderness that was only accessible by foot or horseback, I no longer considered it “camping” if I could get to my campsite by driving.
50. Some of my best times with my Dad were fishing together at Lake Powell and Recapture Lake near Blanding. We always fished with bait and lures, and it took a lot of patience.
51. When I first tried fly fishing, I no longer considered it to be “real fishing” if I used a spinner reel and bait or lures.
52. I love golfing, especially with my Dad and older brother. I just wish I didn’t get worse every time I go.
53. I don’t really think of how much I miss having adventures in the wilderness (camping, hiking, fishing etc.) on a day to day basis now that I live in the city. I’m grateful for the memories, and they’re still some of my favorite things to do. I guess I know I can always count on having these experiences with family in Blanding when I go back to visit.
54. I was almost killed several times growing up, usually when my dad was driving drowsy. Once he hit a cow while I was asleep in the camper shell of his truck and I was thrown out of the truck together with the camper shell several feet off the side of the road and buried under a pile of debris. Another time while I was sleeping in the passenger seat and my dad was driving, he decided to take a nap too, and nearly ran head-on into another car before swerving and spinning out on the highway. I know my dad wasn’t trying to kill me, but I sure think twice now before getting in a car with him when he’s tired.
55. I played in a band in college. To this day, I can’t describe what type of music we played. It wasn’t rock. It wasn’t punk. It wasn’t alternative. It wasn’t funk. It wasn’t soul. It wasn’t jazz. But it was fun, and Eryka was patient with my rocker aspirations while they lasted. (I can’t wait until I buy that fancy new drum-set and start up another band.)
56. OK, so I played in two bands in college. The second band was definitely punk rock. I’m not sure how Eryka put up with that. (That one didn’t last very long.)
57. College was easy. Working full time as a college student was not easy. Eryka quitting school to support our family while I finished college made it a lot easier. I am so grateful for the sacrifices Eryka has made to support me through college and law school.
58. Law school was easy. Except for the last two weeks of each semester before finals.
59. Paying off law school debt won’t be so easy.
60. Having a scholarship for all of my law school tuition makes paying off debt easier. I still do not know how or why I got the scholarship, but it was certainly one of several factors that made it very clear to me and Eryka that we were supposed to be at Columbia.
61. I like saying that I have a son who was born in Washington, D.C., a daughter born in New York City, and a child soon to be born in Madrid, Spain. If we have any more children, I can’t decide if it would be better to try to get more exotic, or try to have them in some place really exciting like where Eryka was born: Henderson, Nevada.
62. I’m a procrastinator when it comes to writing projects. I’ve been putting this one off for months (Eryka has been asking me when she would get to see my list of 100) and now I’m working on this when I should probably be working on a different writing assignment for work. Oh well. It will get done eventually.
63. I always want to help people in distress, but a lot of times I don’t help when I should, or other times don’t have the resources to help that I wish I did.
64. I am addicted to the internet: ESPN, FoxNews, Drudge Report, PGATour.com, gmail, cougarfan and family blogs. I waste a lot of precious free time (especially when I should be spending that time with family) surfing these websites over and over. I am overcoming my addiction, one page-load at a time.
65. I love that my family blogs regularly now and think it’s fantastic family time with them and a great way to keep a record of my own family.
66. I love gadgets, electronic toys, appliances, computer software updates, digital cameras, i-pods, you name it. I wish these things actually made my life easier.
67. I wish Eryka could figure out how to use the dang things so I didn’t have to troubleshoot them for her all the time.
68. I love troubleshooting technical problems with our gadgets.
69. Eryka and I met at a Halloween party. She introduced herself to me before I could introduce myself to her. I probably would have stayed quiet on my corner of the couch away from the life of the party if she hadn’t come and talked to me. I was “too cool” (another way of saying I was a wallflower). Eryka might not have come up and talked to me, except I was wearing a Pepsi shirt with the nametag “Rick” as my Halloween costume and her friend wanted her to ask me if I knew their friend who worked for Pepsi. Lucky me my friend had bought that Pepsi shirt from D.I. the week before.
70. Eryka was the first girl I kissed.
71. After I told Eryka I wanted to date other girls and she told me that was fine but she wasn’t going to date anyone else, she had me hooked. How do girls do that?
72. I don’t know why I ever thought I wanted to date other girls.
73. I decided I wanted to major in economics at BYU and go to law school to be a corporate attorney while I was serving on my mission in Brazil. I’m only a little bit surprised that things really turned out that way. Now I sometimes wonder if it was the right thing to stick to my plan.
74. I have had jobs as a grocery store clerk, a radio station switchboard operator, a physical therapist assistant, a watermelon picker, an Echinacea harvester, a window washer, a circuit board manufacturer, a janitor, a telemarketer, a teaching assistant, a research assistant, a congressional intern, a senate committee intern, a law clerk, and now an attorney. My favorite jobs were washing windows and building circuit boards. I have a hard time holding down one job for an extended period.
75. Eryka had a miscarriage a little over a year after we were first married. The loss of that child was something that profoundly affected my life and something I did not know how to deal with at the time. I’m still am not sure I have fully dealt with the loss. I am so grateful for Eryka, the time I have with her, and her courage in bearing and raising our children.
76. I don’t like having responsibility.
77. I always think I’d know how to do things better if I had responsibility.
78. Rarely do I do things very well at all when I get the responsibility.
79. I bought myself new golf clubs for a graduation present from law school and didn’t play with them on a golf course for four months. I played three rounds with family in Utah before moving to Spain and those same golf clubs have been in my closet for seven months. I wish I had time to golf.
80. It’s really fun to play video games with Isaac, and I’m surprised at how quickly he figures out how to progress through the levels and challenges on my video games, the Legend of Zelda in particular. At the same time, it’s really frustrating having to play the same parts over and over again with him and having to hear him get frustrated and make me pass the part he is having a hard time with. (See number 29).
81. When Isaac was born, I thought he was the most beautiful baby boy on the face of the planet.
82. When Stella was born, I thought she was the ugliest little baby ever and I thought “Oh no – my girl is going to be so ugly”. After about two weeks I thought, and still think, Stella was one of the most gorgeous baby girls I had ever seen.
83. Comparing pictures of Isaac when he was first born to pictures of Stella when she was first born, I think they look exactly alike.
84. Now that I speak Spanish every day in a professional setting, I probably know more Spanish words than I ever knew in Portuguese. I still don’t feel as comfortable in Spanish as I ever did in Portuguese. And now I can’t speak comfortably in Portuguese because I start slipping Spanish in everywhere.
85. I’m too lazy to try harder to get more comfortable in Spanish. I know what it would take: speaking all the time, reading, listening to the radio, watching T.V. But mostly speaking all the time, like at home. I just don’t bother.
86. I miss ready-to-eat food from the States.
87. I think my family loves me more than anyone deserves.
88. I get a certain sense of pleasure out of making big purchases (especially electronics, but clothes too). I like the research that goes into making my purchases and get really excited and build things up in my mind when I get the stuff. It’s always very anticlimactic after the purchase is made, and the thing itself never gives me as much pleasure as I think it will. I think that may be normal: getting more pleasure out of the anticipation of the purchase than the actual purchase.
89. I like how I feel and look when I work out regularly. I spent the summer after my first year of law school working out and eating large amounts to add muscle mass to my frame. I was very pleased to go from weighing about 130 pounds to 155 pounds. I more or less kept the weight on and stayed in good form the next couple of years until we moved to Spain. Now there’s nothing good to eat, and no time to work out.
90. I could probably find more time to work out and find decent things to eat if I wasn’t so lazy (and if gyms around Madrid would bother to open before 9:00 a.m.).
91. I miss Sunday dinners at my mom’s house in Blanding.
92. I think my mom is one of the best cooks in the world, right behind my wife. Have I said how lucky I am?
93. I think I’ve gotten a lot closer with my brothers and sisters now that we’re all adults. At the same time, I wish we could be closer, and I think mostly that’s because I’m so far away geographically, but also I know I need to make a better effort at being a good brother.
94. It’s really hard seeing my parents get older. They’re not even old, but I often worry about their health and wish they would take better care of themselves.
95. It’s really hard seeing myself get older and realize how quickly time is passing by and my kids are getting older and before I know it they’ll be all grown up and leaving the house. I love these simple times with them while they’re young.
96. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to not have any kids at home and have a house full of fish tanks. Then I think about my dad and stop wondering.
97. I am grateful for my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, my mission to Brazil, my marriage in the temple, living prophets and the Book of Mormon.
98. I love my wife and children.
99. I am very lonely without them.
100. My life is complete when I am with them.