London Trip

I told quite a few people that I’d update my blog with our London Trip experience, so now that it’s been over a month, I’m finally getting around to it. I’ll add a few pictures to this post, but most of them will be in our family photo website.

First, it was a long plane ride. We finally arrived in London on Sunday in the morning. The rest of our group were planned to arrive 30 minutes after us on a separate flight. We had received a text before we left the US though that their first flight was delayed, so they may not make it. We were able to get on the Internet in the airport and got a message that they did make their flight, but it was also delayed.  So we waited another extra hour or so, and they were able to meet up with us.

We got to our hotel called “The California” and got settled in. We then got our Oyster cards, which allowed us to ride “the tube” (the subway in London) for our week stay. We were then able to go over to Baker Street to buy phones, and walk past the Sherlock Holmes museum/house. One of the things I wanted to try out was to use my cell phone there, so I bought a SIM card for £5, popped it in my Galaxy S5, and got it up and running with cell service and Internet access (after a little configuration). So, as a techie, this was one of the things I was excited about trying out.

After that, we went over to St. Paul’s Cathedral for an organ recital that was going on that night. We ended up having a while before the recital, so we walked across the Millennial bridge and were able to go into a Christmas market that was set up there. We had some roasted nuts from a street vendor, and had fun checking out a few of the other stores.  The recital was only about a half hour, but it was cool to be inside under the dome and listen to the organ echo throughout the cathedral. We were pretty tired, so I have to admit, I fell asleep for a little bit of it 😉 then we traveled back to our hotel for the night.

For our second day, we started off by walking by Big Ben, which is part of the palace of Westminster. We walked through a park over to Buckingham Palace. Jeb and Patrick happy that things were not as busy during the winter as it normally was during the spring/summer when they usually visit London.  I was glad, because there were quite a few people, and I don’t know how well I would have handled having a ton more people around.

We then made our way down “The Mall” toward Trafalgar Square. On our walk, we were able to see a part of what I think is the horse guard, which was basically a bunch of guards on horses that made a ride down the Mall and back up around the palace.

At Trafalgar Square, we split up and were able to visit the National Gallery and Mikki and I ate lunch in the Crypt of one of the Cathedrals nearby. It was good food, but kind of weird to think about where we were eating.  The National Gallery was pretty cool, and we were allowed to take pictures of many of the paintings there.

After the gallery, we went back close to our hotel to the King’s British Library. Most of our group only spent an hour there, but Mikki and I stayed a while longer, as the librarian in her came out. We were able to see a copy of the Magna Carta, and other cool documents.

After that, we were able to go on a good walk past the Tower of London, across the Tower Bridge, and back up by the Millennial Bridge. Below is a picture of us on Tower Bridge.2015-12-14 16.15.58

The rest of our group had a play that night, and we didn’t go to it, so we went to Piccadilly Circus, which would be the equivalent of like Times Square in New York. We wandered around, up and down the streets there, and ate some good Italian food there.

Since this seems to be taking me so long to write, I’ll go ahead and post this, and then add more information about our trip to subsequent posts.

October 2014 Highlights

I’d say the best thing with this October was Mikki getting her first deer ever! She’s turned out to be a pretty good huntress.

One of the other cool trips I was able to take was to Microsoft Headquarters in Redmond, Washington.  I traveled with two of my coworkers to attend a Windows in Higher-Ed conference to learn some of the future plans of Microsoft in respect to their operating system and other ideas that can benefit universities in particular.  I was able to meet with many other people who work in universities across the US, which was fun, and we were able to share ideas with one another.  Before we left, we took some time to go into Seattle for some sight-seeing.

And, last of all, I threw in our carved pumpkins for Halloween.

Our Home and Smoky Mountain Road

During the end of August, 2014, we moved into our first house.  Along with a couple of those pictures, I’ve added a couple of picture of our ride we took with Mom and Dad on the Smokey Mountain Road at the beginning of Septemer.

Mom also added more of our photos on our Family Photo website here (

December 2013


Merry Christmas!  We hope that all of you enjoy this time of the year, as we are enjoying it so much.  I had a goal of posting at least once a month to my website, and even though I didn’t reach it, I’ve done better than I ever have before.

Mikki and I are still keeping busy at SUU.  We are getting a new president for the new year, and are excited to see how things change with new leadership in a University setting.

One of the projects I was able to work on this year was highlighted on the SUU Homepage for a little while.  It highlights one of the tools I implemented and helped build to provide students with real-time information about what computers are available for them to use throughout campus.  Check out the tool here. I’m excited to see how the students have reacted about having this tool.  I’ve received some positive feedback from the students and hope to improve it over time as well.

We’ve done plenty of other fun things over the past year with our family.  Please check out our family’s photo site to see more fun pictures.

October 2013



Of course, the important part of October is the deer hunt.  I love having a full-time job that gives me the benefits of taking time off.  At SUU, October isn’t very busy for me at all since all of the students are in the computer labs, and I have all the software they need for the semester loaded and configured for them.  It was great that SUU also put the Harvest Holiday back in the right time (during the hunt) so that was an extra day I got off anyway.

I was able to hunt most of the week with the family, and Mikki stayed to hunt that first weekend.  Dad had to sell calves on the first day of the hunt, so we spent the day on Cole Bench, with no luck.  Sunday night, we then went down to the Tommy cabin for the rest of the time I hunted.  As with most years, we’d seen plenty of tracks and signs of deer being around, but it is pretty difficult to get in a position where we actually see the deer.

On the day I was able to get my deer, we started out as a group going on top of Horse Mountain (Dean, Dad, Ryan, Weston, David, and me).  Our plan was to walk down the mountain toward the cabin, which would take all day and lots of miles to walk.  We eventually got into some fresh tracks, and signs that we had jumped deer.  I eventually got to a point where I followed some tracks and heard a deer bound away from me.  I radioed the group and they followed my GPS to see where it was going.  I was running as fast as I could with all my gear toward the sound of the bounding deer.  I followed it for quite a while as it started east (away from everybody) and then turned north (toward the direction we started from) and eventually it ended up going in a circle back to almost where I jumped it in the first place.

We regrouped a bunch of us and made a plan for Dad to follow the track while a couple of us got on both sides of him.  We ended up tracking the deer almost back to the road by the sand dunes near the cabin.  It mixed in with a bunch of other tracks, so we ended up losing it.  By that time it was around 4pm, and I finally took a break to eat my lunch by that time.  Ryan had to take Weston back to Cedar that evening so before he left, he showed me a track to follow that looked fairly recent.  Dad and Dean decided to go to the four-wheelers and drive some of the roads to look for tracks since they were pretty tired.  David was taking his four-wheeler back to get his truck from where we left that morning.

I took my time following the track, since I was pretty tired.  I took a couple of breaks, and it got to where there would maybe be another 45 minutes of sunlight left.  I radioed Dad as I sat on the ground.  I told him I’d follow the track for another 15 minutes before I turned back to the cabin and have him pick me up.  I decided to take the 15 minutes at a pretty fast pace.

As I started walking again, I found that the track started making a half circle, which looked like the buck was getting to a place where it could look back on it’s tracks.  It knew it was being followed for sure. I then found where it had done another half circle back, so I looked farther up the ridge, and there it was.  It moved just a little bit, making it broad-side to me, and as soon as it stopped, I pulled the trigger.  I knew I hit it, but couldn’t tell where.  It ran to the top of the ridge, stumbled, and fell just about 30-40 feet from where I shot it.  I finally got Dad on the radio and told him the good news so he could come help me.  David was back by that time too, so they both made it out there to help me.  I was way tired and glad that they came and helped.

I spent a few more days hunting with the group, and none of them had any luck in getting a buck.  There were plenty of deer to chase around though, so we had a fun time.

August 2013

I don’t have quite as many pictures this month.  Mostly I just have updates about some of the things going on in life.

On one of the weekends, our ward had a ward camp-out.  It is really fun to be in a University Married ward where we get to have great activities and get to know more of the couples in our ward.  The camp-out was located in Pine Valley.  The property is owned by one of our former high council members.  It has been in his family for generations, and there is a nice old house there that was his grandparents home.  It was pretty fun to learn a little history about Pine Valley and enjoy the outdoors.

August also means that school started.  I kept pretty busy trying to get all of the computer labs ready for school.  We had quite a few changes this time compared to how we usually set up the computers in the past.

Love in the month of February

Wow! Time just keeps going faster as I get older.  I’m still loving my job, and since things have slowed down a bit, I get to get back into my research for what the future computer labs will be like next year.

Valentine’s day is coming up, and Mikki and I have had some experiences this past week that really have taught us more about love.

First of all, I love my family.  On Tuesday evening, we went to Cannonville to spend our last evening with Chelsea as she would be entering the Missionary Training Center the next day.  We had a great time together, and we were able to be there with President Chenoweth the next morning as she was set apart as a full-time missionary for the church.  I felt a little jealous, as I do miss the feelings and revelation that comes to missionaries in the service of the Lord.

We then made the trip up to Provo with all of the family (George, Teresa, Chelsea, and Shan).  We had some good discussions and laughs as we made the drive.  When we got to Provo, we decided to eat at the Olive Garden, and we only had a little over an hour before we needed to drop Chelsea off.  We waited for a good amount of time, and I guess they didn’t have any larger tables open up, as many groups of 2 or 3 that had come after us, were being seated.

Chelsea was getting pretty nervous, and I though back to my lunch before going into the MTC.  I had been pretty nervous as well.  I’m sure she had similar thoughts like, “I’m really not going to see my family for this whole time as a missionary; Is this really what I’m supposed to be doing? I already miss being at home.” With the way things were going at the Olive Garden, we decided we’d better just go to Zupa’s instead.

When I’ve usually been to Zupa’s, the lines are always long, but they move pretty quick.  Thankfully, when we went in, there really wasn’t a line.  We all ate pretty quick, not necessarily because of what time it was, but I think we just were all a little nervous too as we knew that Chelsea was going to be gone soon.

This was the first missionary drop-off experience that I have had since being home from my mission.  It was also the first one that I had since they had changed the way they have them come.  I had gone through the old way where they have the family go into the chapel, sing Called to Serve, say our good-byes, and walk out the separate exits.  Now they give the missionary a time to just get dropped-off at the curb of the MTC.  They previously instruct the families to say their good-byes before dropping them off.

We had about 15 minutes before we had to drop Chelsea off, so we went to the parking lot in-between the MTC and Provo temple.  There were quite a few families doing the same thing of going to the parking lot, saying their good-byes, and then taking them across the street to drop them off.

We took a few pictures, let Chels know how proud we are of her, shed some tears, and then made the short drive to the MTC to drop her off.  They basically have a line of about 30 cars all at once line up to the curb.  They have maybe 3 or 4 missionaries per vehicle help get all the luggage, and then point the missionary in the right direction of where to go next.  In the matter of just a few minutes, we all just drive off leaving them in the hands of the Lord to start their mission experience.

We love Chels a lot, and are glad that she made the decision to serve a mission.  I know that the Lord is aware of our needs and will help us make the best decisions for our life.  If we follow the guidance we receive from him, he will bless us so much every time.

As for the latter part of this week, on Saturday, our stake put on a Valentine’s dance.  It is really fun to be a part of a University Married stake, where our leaders plan and help us all build our marriages.  Mikki and I went out to eat at Milt’s, as we were treating that day as if it was Valentine’s Day.  We figured we would beat the rush so we wouldn’t have to try to have dinner when everyone else goes out.  After dinner we got ready for the dance.  I finally wore my Bow-tie that Mikki had given me about 6 years ago when she had gone to London.

We had a fun time dancing, singing, and socializing with many of our friends.  We have the largest ward in our stake, and a lot of our ward went to the party.  There still wasn’t a ton of people as it was kind of snowy outside. I’m so glad that we went, and were able to celebrate the love that Mikki and I have.  I hope all of my family and friends take the opportunity to show their spouse, and family how much they love them during this Valentine’s day that is coming up.

I love you all, and wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s from Jim and Mikki