Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Best friend visits

 I can't tell you how much I love Jared.  He dropped by with his family on his way to Disneyland.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Our day in the rain

I was trying not to be too paranoid as the kids were throwing rocks and whatever else they could find into the swift moving water.  I kept playing out scenarios of what I would do if one of them slipped in.  I hate to even think about it but these are the things you think about sometimes.  I was relieved when they lost interest in throwing things overboard.  They seemed quite oblivious to the danger but at least they listened to me when I told them not to step into the current.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Fire Department

Henry and Maggie took a tour of the fire department.  I can remember taking a tour of the fire department in Utah when I was a boyscout, I almost forgot how fun it is to explore where all our tax dollars go.  I believe Kirsta from our ward set everything up.  The kids had a lot of fun!  They showed the kids all the layers of clothing and equipment they wear (50-90lbs).  I can't image how hot that is in the summer time.  The guy who was showing us was sweating bullets and it was a nice cool day.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Second Interview

Sara and the kids came down to California with me for my second interview.  Despite the expression on Henry's face, he had fun with Grandma and Grandpa, it work out perfect because their cousins had the day off from school so they came over on Monday.  All-in-all a good weekend.  The following week I got an offer and we decided to take the job.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Let it rain

It has been raining for the last few days, which never happens in Las Vegas.  After spending most of yesterday indoors we decided to venture into the rainy outdoors.  On our way to the park, Henry fell asleep, so while he was sleeping in the car, Maggie did a little photoshoot. She told me I could take one picture, this is her unscripted.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


This morning Henry poured his own bowl cereal without any supervision. Somehow he got the entire contents of the cereal box to fit into his bowl.  When I found him he was enjoying his cereal with no milk.  Although if had poured milk, I am sure he would have emptied the entire milk jug in too.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


We visit California again this weekend for a second interview. The kids had a lot of fun with Grandma and Grandpa, aunt Tasha and cousins.  After the park Grandma took them to get frozen yogurt.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Henry's Shoes

 Awe, our little baby is turning into a little boy.  Let me paint one of the many pictures I have missed lately.

"If you want to get pumpkins," I announced, "go get your shoes!"  With that, Henry came running around the corner wearing his shoes.  Mom looked over with excitement, "Henry put on his shoes on all by himself for the first time today!"

Monday, September 30, 2013

Maggie's first day back to preschool

About a dozen blog posts are well overdue. Since we last talk Maggie started school, Henry started his potty training... very successfully I will say, we're currently expecting another girl, Emma Paige, we had another successful Richins family reunion, Henry got his first stitches, I learned how to braid Maggie's hair, we got a new van, Maggie started liking superheroes, Henry started sleeping in our bed at night, Henry and Maggie became best friends, I became very serious about finding a full-time gig, did I mention we're having another child... Sara and I got a new calling, as the emergency preparedness experts or not-so-expert, life is good, we feel very blessed... we can't imagine life getting any crazier, but I pretty sure it will. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Camping with the Torgerson Reunion

Sara and Tasha basically planned this camping reunion.  I couldn't believe it. I have been teasing Sara about the last camping trip she planned, which somehow I ended up planning and packing for.  But this time I hardly lifted a finger and it was actually the best camping trip.  We landed in Bryce Canyon National Park, although that part wasn't exactly planned.  But it all worked out perfect.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

TV the gateway drug

One evening we sat down as a family and decided to begin a grand experiment.  We decided to turn the TV off on Fridays and Sunday.  I thought it would be hard for the children but it has been infinitely harder for me in particular.  The beginning was the hardest.  I realized Maggie was accustomed to constantly being entertained.  So if the TV wasn't entertaining the responsibility fell on me to occupy her free time.  What exactly had I gotten myself into?  But after a few weeks I began to see miraculous changes.  Maggie began to self-play more.  Henry who was too young to care about TV anyway, now had a role model and began to mimic some of Maggie's self-play.

Over the months and now years it has become a lot easier.  The rules have been broken from time to time.  One Friday, I asked if we could break the rules and watch a movie.  I didn't have a single descending vote.  Of course, when Sunday arrived Maggie to proudly proposed that we should break the rules and watch TV.

Part of this rule has helped us keep the Sabbath but it has never been strictly about Sunday.  Unknowingly we create a rule that didn't plague Sunday with another "thou shalt not" but since in typical week it spans two days, Friday has been met with more disagreement than Sunday.  Looking back it was smart.  I think our kids enjoy Sundays with no TV.

The rule has only increased in spectrum as I have seen the positive effects over the years.  The break from TV has helped our children have learned to play more with each other, although not always so nicely.  We also do not turn the TV on until 10am and typically Maggie does learning time on the computer before she can watch TV.  Due to her example Henry loves learning time too.

TV really is a gateway drug.  Maggie could watch TV every waking hour.  She love it that much.  If I didn't pause it she wouldn't eat or even take bathroom breaks.  She still has fits of rage when I turn the TV off.  Sometimes I think she might start foaming at the mouth.  It is a good reminder that TV must be cautiously rationed.  No TV days actually now go smoother now than TV days.

As far a TV content goes, Maggie has a lot of shows that I dislike, such as Scooby-Do and Spiderman.  Most TV has no intrinsic value but I try not to over regulate her TV content.  There are few shows like Sponge Bob that I refuse to let her watch but for the most part I let her watch her Strawberry Shortcake.  It allows her to make her own decisions.  At first, the fact that her Dad didn't like Spiderman made it more appealing but its amazing what your children will do with a little agency because I think she has started making better and better media decisions.  It has also allowed us to talk about what makes a TV show good.   Now when I am watching a TV show without the kids, I think of her example regulating my own TV consumption.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Miss Mini Marsha Preschool

Maggie enjoyed her first year of preschool.  She just had her preschool program.  You might think she is a total ham in front of people but she often becomes a shy mute on stage.  But it just shows how much she loves her teachers and classmates because she was her natural crazy self on stage.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Maggie's moods

Some of my favorite mood swings can be found in the early morning or right before bedtime.  Maggie is an addict of TV, flipping the switch off is like stripping a tree of its limbs.  She is a social animal. At the park an older girl tells her she no longer wants to play. She curls into a ball with tears of rejection streaming down her face.  Maggie is a synchronize swimmer. After shadowing a group of teenage girls at pool they magically let her into her circle.  She is a rainbow of smiles.  She is a clown.  Dancing and sketching her face to the amusement of her brother.   She is a task master, frustrated by the late hour her family wakes.  She is censor. Demanding that her Dad not sing songs early in the morning.  She is a dancer.  Performing ballets between the pews while the chore sings.  Maggie is all moods, tears and laughter, smiles and indignation, screams and whispers of I love you.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

3 days of bliss

Grandma and Grandpa made a special visit out to see us, which had nothing to do with Chad graduating from BYU.  Okay, maybe Chad gave them a little push but really they wanted to spend time with us.  Maggie and Grandma surprised me when they materialized with Sorry from the game closet.  Grandma played a half dozen games with Maggie, even Grandpa played a few.  They weren't push overs either, no victories were given to protect her princess ego and they even made her play by the rules. I was very impressed these interactions.  Somehow Maggie got Grandpa to open up and tell her stories of his childhood.  It was great hear some of his stories.  I now have a great idea for recording his personal history, just get him talking to Maggie.

They stocked us up with ice cream, fruit icicles and a little candy, to my welcomed surprise. We went on a little hike and I think I got my favorite picture of Grandpa on this trip with Maggie.  Henry and Maggie really loved it, the weather was perfect.  It was a great visit.

Friday, April 19, 2013

A day trip worth a million dollars

These pictures do very little to describe how much I love Sara today. We had had some discussion about driving up to Zion for the day.  The drive is over three hours and then a long steep hike with the kids and a shuttle ride and then the long drive home, these were only a few of things stacked against today.  The biggest hurdle was that the plans were last minute.  It is the kind of plans that Sara dislikes most.  I rescheduled my architecture licensing exam last minute, which freed up the day. And even though it seemed like a horrible idea from the beginning, I desperately wanted to go.   I hate missing an adventure.

When I rolled out of bed, I knew my Mom and sister would be hiking Angels Landing in few hours. I text my sister, and true to her word she had left Salt Lake City at 5am.  Sara had convinced me this was a bad idea but as I got dressed, I grabbed my hiking shoes, which is the first thing Sara noticed when I walked into the kitchen.  She had her running shoes on and was ready to leave for a long run, important preparations for her half marathon, which was only few weeks away.  I said, I think I might take the kids to Zion.  Sara was silent and left the room.  In few minutes she returned with her hiking boots and said, "I am not letting you go by yourself."  And off we went.  Yes, it was a long drive.  Yes, the kids were crazy.  Yes, we left the house a disaster but I wouldn't have traded today for a million dollars.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Angry Birds

I almost forgot how much I love doing emotions for photographs.  Thanks, Tonya for calling out the emotions and Laura and Megan for getting into the zone.  Henry and Maggie fell in lock and step.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Taya's gone

It was nice to have Taya with us for ten days.  We miss having her with us.   Maggie enjoyed having an older sister and another female to bond with.  She was sad when she left and it took some convincing that she couldn't leave with her.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Taya's visit during spring break

We went down the new discovery children's museum.  It is amazing.  We didn't get past the first water exhibit.  We walked over to the Brain Institute for lunch.  The chapel area was amazing.  Eventually we were escorted out by security.  Apparently, it is not open to the public but we managed to sneak by. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Maggie started using some funny phases.  While driving past an awful example of a modern house, she exclaimed, "What in the world is that?"  Another time, while driving home she told her Mom, "I can't hold my horses" —meaning she needed to go potty.
Henry still doesn't talk much but he can say a few words with coaching.  Still his favorite word is "heesus", which he says while pointing to a picture of Jesus.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Lucy's blessing

The Donovan's boys now have a baby sister.  Lucy is adorable and we are glad we made it to her baby blessing.  I must say, Brian's backyard is looking very nice.  The kids always enjoy running around with their cousins in their yard.  They are such good kids and Maggie enjoys being able to rough house her boy cousins, although I do think the new baby has softened them a bit.

Friday, February 22, 2013


I still can't believe we didn't send valentines out this year.  I love making cards and Maggie loves to draw... but we were a little preoccupied.  Sara and the kids enjoyed opening a ton of valentines from family.  Next year, I promise.   Thanks for all the valentines.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Rainbow Party #4

Maggie got to celebrate her birthday in California this year.  Grandma and Sara put together a fantastic rainbow birthday party, per Maggie's request.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Rainbow dress and jacket

What happens when Sara and Grandma plan a party?  Maggie gets two outfits.  The first rainbow outfit was adorable but of course they found something better.

Friday, February 15, 2013

First snow

Okay, it was more like hail but sometimes you gotta go with whatever you get.  Maggie and Henry enjoyed their first snowfall of the year with Mom.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Learning time

I try to do learning time with Maggie everyday.  We have been using Starfall lately to help with reading. She can navigate through most of it on her own but tends to gravitate towards the math games and it's questionable just how much she is really learning.  When I have time, I like to review the reading elements with her, she likes to guess by clicking on all the available answers but if we go through it together I can get her to stop and think about the sounds and letters instead of just guessing.  She catches on quickly but she also forgets a lot.  Do you have any suggestions in the learning-to-read department?  Sara, reads to her almost every night.  I spend most of my time helping her recognize letters and their sounds.

Monday, February 11, 2013

JW Winkleman milk can

I brought our milk can in from the garage.  I can't believe I inherited this dreamy relic from my childhood.  It was my high chair as a kid.  Originally it was used on my great-grandfather's farm; I am sure it once was a shiny silver and got thrown around a lot.  I am not sure how my Mom got it but she painted a nostalgic scene around the cylinder, which I vividly remember enjoying as a kid.  When we weren't using it has a chair, it doubled as a flour container, which is exactly how we use it.  Now our kids fight over who get to sit on the milk can at meal time... who would have thought.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The fifteen fingered man

Straight from Maggie's imagination.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The family

Capturing the family is not what it seems.  It often involves several bribes and a lot of threats.  And it is near impossible when the camera is sitting on a tripod taking a photo every three seconds.  I am still working on a way to get this to work but here are the results of 300 pictures. 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Recesses of the imagination

Maggie has two imaginary friends, Flower Garden and Sally.  Both have jobs and usually work the weekends.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Henry chilaxing

Despite how it may seem, Henry is difficult to photograph because he is constantly on the move.  I was surprised by how many photos I have of the children eating, perhaps because they're held captive by their food and it's an easy shot.  It was nice to capture this one of him chilaxing.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

8 Good reasons to visit

We just got a membership to the Discovery Children's Museum.  It admits eight for free.  The children love all the interactive exhibits. However they spent equal time inside as they did outside, playing on the landscaping and running around the plaza.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Star Wars

Maggie and Henry both love watching the Star Wars movies.  Henry now runs around picking up sticks, pens or anything that resembles a light saber, usually he gathers two so that he can offer you one  for the epic battle.  He is surprisingly good at gently swinging and spinning things around and the sound effects are incredible.  So far nobody has been seriously hurt, so it is all fun and games.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Unposer: 1. one who does not require posing.  2. one who simply is without exaggeration

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Breathing treatments

When the doctor told me Henry would need to have breathing treatments for two months, I thought it would be the death of me.  In the past it has turned into him screaming for 10-15 minutes.  He really hates to be restrained but it was near impossible to do treatments without restraining him.  That is a lot of moving parts and I only have one free hand to accomplish it.   But this time around I decided after a few minutes of struggling, to give him back the reins and some magical happened.  He held his mask for a full ten minutes.  And as the weeks have past he has come to really like his breathing treatments.  It is an awful feeling to restrain your child for the greater good of medicine, so I can't express what it means to see him enjoying it.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fantastic artwork

I love Maggie's drawings.  She loves to draw.  She will draw for hours at a time.  I often find her drawing things with her arms waving around in the air, silently conducting an orchestral of pictures in her mind.  It is very fun to watch her explaining things by drawing pictures in the air.  Kids can be so imaginative and their pictures can give you a small glimpse of what is going on inside their minds.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

It's not too late...

I am posting this for Chad.  I know you are about to leave BYU and start your traahhvaallls through the lone and dreary wilderness, so I thought I'd give you a new profile pic.  Women love a guy holding a baby, especially when it's not his.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sugar high

We are slowly licking up the odds and ends of the Holiday sweets.  Paige helped make cake pops while they were here but left us with the entire batch.  I usually am not afraid to eat too much sugar but we definitely over did it this season.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Maggie has wonderful hair, unfortunately her Dad does not have hair skills.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Eggnog and rootbeer

I just thought of a great title for Auntie Michelle's artwork.  Thanks for kick starting our vacation with fondue and some excellent apple cobbler.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


It's a rare thing but it is something both Sara and I enjoy, that is siblings that like each other.