Monday, July 29, 2013

What has consumed me for the last year.....

So for the last year I have been working on the largest project I have done.  It has been a huge undertaking to say the least.  It was very difficult and it really put a strain on us.  Luckily we were able to find some good glaziers in the area that have really helped us get through the job.  It seems like this job has completely consumed me this last year, and I can't show appreciation to Jessica enough for standing by and being understanding as I have haven't been able to be there emotionally for her as much as she has been for me.  It has been a huge struggle and I can't thank her enough.

October 2012, we had only one window installed, but many more built and glazed at the warehouse.

In November we had the 2 ends of the first building closed up, and then started on the large banks of curtain wall on the south and north sides.

In January, we had the first building closed in for the most part as well as the east and west ends of the 2nd building.  The large bays took a long time to close in and even longer to finish out with caulking and shades.

Long, Cold days in the winter to close in the building

Above are 2 opposing views of the courtyard between the 2 large buildings.
This was the first time I have worked with sun-shades.  They were a pain at first, but once we got the hang of them, they aren't too bad.  They take a lot of prep work on the curtain wall, but I like the look they give and they do knock down a lot of the direct light coming into the building without cutting down ambient light. I don't like the vertical single shades as much though.

These are the vertical single blade shades that I don't like as much, especially as they span in the middle of the vision lites.  It seems ridiculous to have 10' wide windows just to cut up the vision with a piece of cosmetic metal on the outside.

On the inside of the south facing windows we also installed these light shelves.  These are another thing that seems a bit extreme.  The idea is to increase the ambient light by bouncing light from the upper glass opening to the might work but not in the rooms where the ceiling is painted dark grey and is 10' above the shelf (not like the one here)

This building really "sings" in the morning and evening light.  It was a challenge I wasn't looking forward to by any means, but I have certainly grown from it....I don't know if, given the choice, I would choose to undertake least that is how I feel about it at this point.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Our crazy house welcomes Talmage

Wow, I never seem to post frequently enough!

The past months have been very busy.  I have been taking on a lot more responsibility at work.  I was telling a friend about this and they asked if it meant more money.  I had to say, well not really.  There is a little more but I do like the experience and knowledge.  I get to learn the business end of it more, and I can see that benefiting me later on.  I also came to the realization that there are unwritten benefits where I work.  The number one being that I am treated like family, I am given the freedom to work as I please and they know that I don't take advantage of that.  It is a great place to work....even if there is no bathroom and we just step out back!

The end of February, we welcomed our 5th child into our family, Talmage Val Hopkins!  It has been very exciting around our house to say the least.  The week he was born was very busy.  Kids were at school, Jess was having a difficult time just standing, or sitting, or laying.  Anything and everything hurt!  I was very busy with work, then we had the Scout Banquet in the middle of the week.  The next day, Thursday, I worked in Sun valley and didn't get home until 9pm....I told Jess she was NOT allowed to have the baby that day!  She waited....until 4am Friday morning when her water broke.  We got the kids off to school and Pearson with my mom (my parents had just been released from their mission that week too), and headed to the hospital.  Jess's mom works in labor and delivery at the hospital, and that is wonderful, so we always bring our own nurse when we have babies!  Jess' labor is usually very quick, but Talmage wasn't too interested in moving along, that was a surprise.  All day and no change, I worked a little at the hospital, left to run a few errands, and then at 5:30, Talmage was born!  It was a lot of work and pain for Jess, but she forgets that very quickly just as soon as she gets to hold her little ones.  She is a wonderful woman and I am lucky to have her! 

Talmage has been a treat to have in our home, and all our kids just love him....just wait until he grows up a little and starts breaking all their toys and projects!  Life is crazy but I wouldn't miss any of it for the world.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Mt. Heyburn

Mt. Heyburn in the morning from the lower Bench Lake

Every summer, my wife's family goes camping to Redfish Lake. So, subsequently I have gone (nearly) every summer since we have been married. We stay at the Point Campground at the north end of the lake, and while sitting on the beach, we look across the lake at two mountains--The Grand Mogel and Mt. Heyburn (or Heyburn Mountain as it is on all maps). Part of the Waddoups' Redfish trip is always the hike to the Lily Lake and water fall at the south end of the lake. When we hike up to the Lily lake, we get an impressive view of the south face of Mt. Heyburn. I have always wondered if anyone has climbed it (I still don't know if there are any routes on the south face). This weekend with the company and help of my friend, Kevin "the Ropegun" Hansen, I climbed Mt. Heyburn.
My daughter, Creedance (Right) and her cousin, Audrey at the Lily Lake at the south side of Mt. Heyburn.
I have always wondered about climbing the mountain, but it wasn't until a month or two ago that the idea really sank in. After our week at Redfish Lake, we stopped in for a visit with Kevin and his family as they just moved back to Idaho. While visiting, I pulled out the topo map I had of the area and Kevin got very interested and let me know that whenever I wanted to climb it, let him know.  After some convincing myself and research of the route (the photo above is no where near where we climbed) we got it set up to climb.

I got off work early Friday and headed West to meet Kevin in Hailey.  I was very excited and probably could have left a little later as Kevin was coming from Burley but would not be off work until 2:30.  I got to Hailey about 2 or 3 hours before him, but it was nice to visit with Jessica's Aunt & Uncle (Thank you Matt & Tana for the overnight parking space!).  When Kevin got there he first asked for earplugs as his '80 VW diesel Rabbit truck was VERY loud and we would need them, this is just the beginning!  So we got my gear into his truck, and we headed out.  As we approached the base of Galena pass, he noticed that his fuel needle was in the red and said, "When do we drive through Sun Valley?"  I thought for sure he was pulling my leg and that he knew that his gauge did not work and had pleanty of fuel.  I said that he passed it 45 minutes ago and the next fuel was not until over Galena summit at Smiley Creek....the likelihood of said location having diesel was very slim.  Also, did I mention that at this point we are running not on diesel but rather waste oil (smells like french fries)?!  It is always an adventure with Kevin!  Well we made it over the Stanley, only 25 more miles, but past Redfish.  So we headed strait for Redfish Lake Lodge as it was getting late and we wanted to catch the boat to the south end of the lake to the transfer campsite. 

We made it to the lake without incident, parked, bought a few things at the lodge store (the kids would be jealous as they ALWAYS have to go to the lodge store!), paid for the boat ride and took the ride to the south end campsite.  We were planning on staying the night there at the Redfish Lake Transfer campsite, but when we got off the boat it was still (a little) light and I was very excited for the next day so we headed off for the 3-mile hike to the bench lakes at 8pm.  The hike up the switch-backs wasn't too bad, it did get pretty dark and between us we had my headlamp, Kevin stayed in front to keep a good easy pace and my light behind seemed to work out well for the both of us.  We reached the lower bench lake around 10.  We boiled water for dinner, set up the tent and went to bed.  I had to laugh, just as Kevin fell asleep, I hear about 3 or 4 heavy steps outside...oh Crap!  I didn't fall asleep nearly as quick as he did as I was straining to listen outside the tent for anything else....nothing.  In the morning I didn't see any signs of bear, so I don't know what I heard...probably just in my head. 

Because we didn't sleep at the transfer camp we didn't have to get up before the sun to head out, so our morning was a little easier.  I got up and filtered water from the lake to fill our camelbacks and water bottles, ate breakfast and got our day packs ready for the hike.  We had to hike south past 3 more bench lakes to the base of Mt. Heyburn, then up to the saddle on the NW side of the mountain, from everything I had read up on, this was to be a mile and a half....tell you what that is a long mile and a half!  It is especially long when you cannot keep track of the trail!  I don't know why, but we could not stay on the trail.  We would see carins that other hikers would leave to mark the way...but we came to the conclusion that they were just as lost as we were and just didn't know it!  Even though we were lost and making pretty poor time, we had a wonderful time.  It is VERY beautiful up on those benches.  Not many people hike past the first bench lake, and so the impact of man is not very evident.  We had the mountain to ourselves!  We did not see another person until after we got back to our camp Saturday evening.

We did finally make it to the up most bench lake.  Right at the base of Mt Heyburn.  It was beautiful!  There were several nice campsites around this lake.  I read that other climbers have hiked to this lake to make camp before making the climb.  When I do this climb again (if I do), I will try to get an earlier start and camp there too.  The only downside would be that I would have to carry all my gear an extra LONG mile and a half.  At this lake we hiked along side the East, then south shores.  From the north shore it was hard to make out where the trail was, because the trail is through a scree flow, which is like walking on ball bearings.  Side-hilling it isn't too bad, but when the trail went up-hill, it became very difficult, 2 steps forward and 1 step back all the way! There is also a couple of boulder-fields along the south shore, and they were a little difficult to navigate, but the carins we could find helped lead the way.  We finally made it to the saddle to find the mother of carins on the route at 11am.  It was Huge!  From this we saw where we needed to go to find the Stur Chimney meant more scree crossing.  And some bouldering up a little scramble.  I tell you what, it was scary!  I think the hardest part was the approach for this climb.  It's funny on how the height had me worried.  I could see myself sliding down 200' and smacking into a boulder, and it made me very nervous! 

We roped up just shy of the first pitch, not for Kevin's benefit but mine.  The last little scramble had me worried, so we tied into either end of the rope (50 meters) and Kevin took the sharp end up a little 30' crack to the face of the mountain without fixing any protection.  He then belayed me up and I saw why he didn't set any pro, it wasn't too hard but I was still a little edgy about it.  I'm glad he led it and not me.  We then had a 40' traverse to the base of the chimney.  There are 3 simple pitches in the chimney.  The first isn't too bad, there is one sketchy part just before the slings (at the top of each pitch there is a series of 10-15 pieces of webbing run through a rappel ring or quick-link that climbers have contributed to over the years).  Kevin had a minimal (5-7 cams and 5 Yosemite draws) rack, and so placed gear sparingly, there are about 3 or 4 pins/pitons that are hammered into the wall, so we used them as well.  He was really excited on the 2nd pitch when he came across the ring pin from the 1950's, he said he felt like a 50's climber!  The 2nd and 3rd pitch were slightly more difficult than the 1st, but overall the entire chimney was about a 5.6-5.7.  Not really difficult, but I am not going to lie....I was scared!  We were WAY the crap up there!  And at the base of the chimney was a steep slope of scree.  I think I only looked out over my shoulder once, and it scared me!

When I got to Kevin at the top of the 3rd pitch, I thought we were at the summit, but there was still 20 or so feet to go.  He said, "OK, I'm going to keep belaying you go on to the top."  I replied that he was crazy, he insisted and assured me that I had it in the bag.  So I sent off with only the part of the rack that I cleaned from the last pitch (a #5 cam and #1 or 2 alien).  In hindsight, I didn't need to place anything, but the bomber placement I made with the alien was the coolest and made me feel better.  I got to the top, threw my sling over a flake and belayed Kevin up to me, it was 1:15.  It was really great of him to let me have the chance of topping out first.  We took pictures, enjoyed the calm peace that was there for a while, he got to the top of some neighboring pinnacles, and I even joined him on one.  It was an incredible experience...and we were only half way there!

We down-climbed to the top of the 3rd pitch and rigged our rappel, and on down to the base of the chimney.  Across the traverse from the base of the chimney there is a vertical boulder jutting out of the ground that makes for a beautiful anchor, almost as if the Lord placed it there for just such purpose.  We ran the rope through the slings there and tossed the ends down the steep slope to the next rap-station.  The two ends JUST made it to the little tree (more like bush) that is the anchor for the 2nd rap-station.  We decided that this little tree is probably 100-years old, but because of the elevation is small, but roots run deep through the cracks and that the Lord probably placed it's seed here and blessed it to grow just for this purpose as well!  Ha Ha!  We couldn't see the end of this rappel, but assumed that it made it to solid ground....well, it almost did.  50 meters is just long enough to make it, only because of elongation of dynamic rope. 

The hike back to camp was somewhat easier, scree is fun to ski down and much easier to do than hike up.  We did loose track of the trail many times, but knew that if we stayed somewhat east and go down, we would make it back.  We did around 5pm, and we were TIRED!  I pumped some more water through the filter, we loaded up the tent and our packs and headed for the lodge.  We had a great 3 1/2 mile hike down the ridge!  The trail travels along a narrow ridge as to give you a view of Redfish lake to the right and a valley and the Sawtooth range to the left.  We made it back to the car just as the temperature started to cool.  Dinner was at the Lodge Bar...very good food by the way.  and that Pepsi couldn't taste any better!

We still weren't done yet.  Remember our fuel issues?  Yep, we were low and only had grease in the tank!  The temperature was low and that meant that the grease was more of a solid than liquid.  But with some chugging, coughing and coasting we made it to Stanley to put 15.1 gallons of diesel into a 15 gallon tank! 

It was an amazing 36 hours!  I was dog-tired by the time I climbed into my bed at 2 am Sunday, but I was still very excited about the adventure I had just experienced.  I have NEVER done any climbing like this.  Up until now I have only done sport-climbing.  I think I have cleaned one trad route, and only done one multi-pitch climb.  To add to that, it was over 10 years ago that I did any of that!  I just don't make much time to do it anymore.  Usually I will climb one or two sport routes a year, and now was AMAZING!  I will feel the pain for several more days, but hope to remember the joy for many more years.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Summer wind blows through the trees

This summer has been a lot Well, yes it has. It has been very busy and crazy, but all-in-all it has been very enjoyable. Work picked up, which is very good. However this summer's activities outside of work picked up as well. I spent all week at Scout Camp with my scouts. That was VERY tireing but even more rewarding. We rode those boys all day long. I was going from 6am to 11pm nearly every day. Thursday night we sat around the campfire and told jokes at 9. It was the first and only night we were back to camp by then. But like I said, it was very rewarding. All 11 boys that came up earned at least 4 merit badges each. One earned 7 (3 were required), and it was his first year.

I went back to work for a week and a half after that and we had a project in Twin Falls, we were able to get it completed less the caulking. Then I headed back to Island Park for our Hopkins reunion. That was great fun to see nearly all my brothers and sisters and their families. We rented a cabin with 7 rooms (one for each family) and a large common area for all the kids to crash in. We saw some of the sites in the Island Park area, and even caught a play at the Playmill in West Yellowstone. We saw Joseph and the Amazing Tecnicolor Dreamcoat. It was great! Jess and I were amazed that our kids loved it too. Even Pearson was glued to the stage. It was so wonderful to be there with so much of my family too. Friday night Mom & Dad gave some family history too. They talked about Dad's mission to Austraila and different stories growing up, and I heard for the first time how they met and their first date. It was then that Dad knew that he would marry her....Mom has still yet to have that conviction in the decision! That brought a lot of laughs! 7 kids and 25 grandkids later and she still isn't sure huh?!

So then we came back home for the weekend to regroup, do laundry and repack for our trip to Redfish Lake with the Waddoups family the following week. I went to work Monday and helped to finished up a project in Rexburg at BYU-I, then Tuesday morning we hit the road. We had planned on taking the bus, but after realizing that the engine is "tired" (the #3 cylnder has a burnt valve) and probibly would not make the trip without limping home on the remaining 3 cylnders, we took the minivan. Not as much packing space, not as "cool", but far more comfortable and more in AC!

Redfish was wonderful! It always is. We spent time sitting at the beach, waterskiing, wakeboarding, tubing, hiking, eating, and even sleeping. One morning I just could not wake up. and then another afternoon I got to sit in the tent while Pearson took a nap....well I could not pass up the chance to take one with him! The week of Redfish was very relaxing...and yet I still came home with aches and pains! We had new company at the lake with us this year too, which was a treat. Jessica's older sister's in-laws came for a few days in the beginning to experience the essence that is Redfish Lake. Her younger brother, Nate, brought their new baby, Lilly, for her first trip to the Sawtooth mountains. We also had a future family member come for a first time--Jake brought his fiance, Stacie, as well. Our kids could not get enough of playing with their cousins. It was very sad when Jen & her family left Friday afternoon. We all stood along the road and cried and waived as they drove by and bawled. It was good that Brant was driving, he has the capability to maintain his composure. We will miss them. We did miss having Sam & his family (but understand that it is difficult to travel and camp when about to have a baby) as well as Sean (we also understand the importance of work and school--I think I have missed 2 or so Redfishes since joining the Waddoups Family).

I love spending time with our families and with my wife and children. I love to see the beauty that is here in the West. And I love to go to places that are so dear to my heart to remember the past and create new memories there. But I always am happy to come home, because vacationing is pretty darn hard work! We still have some excitement this summer (Jake and Stacie get married in less than a month!), but the bulk of it is behind us, and now treasured memories to tell our children as they grow.

I love the sound of summer wind through the trees.

Monday, May 30, 2011

It's the little things

The kids made a Watermelon Juice Stand--50 cents a cup...they had 3 customers.

So it is sad how long it has been since my last post. I don't ever seem to sit down and gather my thoughts into a post anymore. I just don't make the time. It is funny how when things get busy, we neglect the little things. Sometimes they don't make much difference, but other times those seemingly little things can have great impacts.

I have been very busy with work. The past year I have been given the responsibility of estimating/bidding (luckily, I am not the only one doing these bids for the company). Lately, it seems that we have a job to bid every week or two and they always give us only 3 days to pull together an accurate bid. We win some and loose some. Just as long as we earn a little money on the ones we win, we are happy. We did get a couple that we will be doing this summer.

Then there is my Scoutmaster calling in the ward, we are gearing up for Scout Camp at Island Park. We will be there in a month, I hope that we don't have to dig the snow out of our campsite with how the weather has been. We will be taking 11 boys up this year, a few greenhorns and a few seasoned boys. It should be fun to go to Island Park again. It was, after all, my home for 6 years.

The basement is a never ending task as well. We have just about got Creedance's new room finished. Jess helped me sand and texture today. It will be ready for paint this week. It seems that the mudding always drags on...mainly because I don't want to do it. We also have the electrical and sheet rock up in the 3rd bedroom (or office) in the basement. I don't think we will be getting to the mud in there this summer...maybe the fall. Slowly but surely the house is getting finished.

As I said before, it seems that we neglect things that matter most. With all my responsibilities I feel that I fall short when it comes to being a husband and father. But tonight while packing my bag for a week of work in Twin Falls, Pearson grabbed my attention...literally. He knew I was packing, so he demanded I play with him. It was so wonderful to get him ready for bed, play cars, and sing "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes." He loved it, and so did I. He screamed and cried as I put his PJ's on, he did not want to go to bed and he knew pj's meant bed. It was fun to spend this day with him and Jessica.

It's the little things.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

November 2010

The front of the UL1 house

Work has slowed down to about normal finally. The long back-to-back days were wearing on me quite a bit. But with the colder weather and jobs completing, it is nice to be back to regular hours. We have a couple loose ends to tie up and a little job here and there to take care of, so I think we are settling in on a good winter of work. Nothing major on the horizon, but we are keeping our fingers crossed for the spring. This is a house I have been working on in Salt Lake City...yea that far away. We finished our part about a week ago, and I'm pretty happy to be done with it. It is an odd one, wouldn't you say?

This is the back "yard" of the house, we did the storefront and venting window.

We went up to the Waddoups' cabin with some friends and played in the snow...just before we got a bunch of snow. But there was a little for the kids to sled in and we pulled them with the 4-wheeler.

Creedance concocted this chair to watch Beauty and the Beast.

How does that pine cone taste, Topher???

My niece, Jessie, and Pearson. The oldest grand kid and almost youngest.
Thanksgiving was definitely enjoyable. My brother, Travis and his family came from southern California. We always love it when they come. Toph, Creedance & TJ relly love to play with cousins, and Jake and Sarah are close in age too. They couldn't stop talking about them coming for about a week before. We had a great dinner at mom & dad's and then visited and played board/card games. We also went to the Collectors' corner museum with them the day before. That was a neat little gem in Idaho Falls that I never knew was there. A large variety of collect ables. Kind of fun to see.
Topher was very excited for his first pocket knife.
Topher also turned 8 at the beginning of November, started Cub Scouts (a few months ago) and was baptized just after his birthday. I can't help but feel old, but I am really excited to see my son progressing and growing up. I know it will all seem to go by so fast, I hope that I can remember to slow down and savor having them my kids while I can. We saw a movie a week or so ago (admittedly quite dumb), that had a good line about raising kids "having kids is AWFUL, AWFUL, AWFUL...and then something wonderful...AWFUL, AWFUL, AWFUL...and then something wonderful." I need to forget the awful and only see the wonderful. This month had a lot of the wonderful.

TJ playing soccer this fall

Nearly all the grandkids that were at mom's (only short Logan in the picture), this is half of the grandkids.

Topher, Jake & Hunter. It is great that they have cousins close in fun for them.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Life is here are some recent photos

No I haven't vanished, I have simply been overwhelmed with work and all my projects that I never have time to photograph or post anything...OK so I never seem to photograph in the last 3 or 4 years, but time seems to be in short supply. Does anyone know where I could find 30 hour days?

Jess has been trying to get me to do a new family Portrait for a while it is sans-touch-ups

Photos of Creedance usualy don't require touch-ups, she's just cute.

I apolagize for the cliche photo, Jess really likes it, and part of me likes it too.

Driving home from the Father & Son Campout was really pretty...and cold too.

Dispite the cold and the snow, the campout was fun

Work has been consuming a lot of my time, I have been arranging with architects, general contractors, and vendors for 3 jobs, 2 of which are quite large. I have also started working on the estimating and drafting of shop drawings. I am wishing that I studied construction management and learned auto cad drawing in college. But hey, I get to do it now and I got to study my passion in college instead. These jobs that have been coming up are now here, however I feel pulled in so many directions to get them taken care of. But it is nice to be doing the work, and putting the pieces together. I'll have to try to get photos and post them as they progress. What adds to some of the stress is that they are spread out geographically, Jackson, Rexburg, Sun Valley, and then little ones here and there in Idaho Falls.

TJ has grown out of that innocent stage when children don't know what your are 'suposed to do' in front of the camera. It is rare that I can get a photo of him like this, without a forced smile.

Our 4 happy kids.

I also will be taking the scouts to Scout Camp in just over a week. It is still cold here, so that should be interesting. I won't be able to stay the whole week, because of the workload, but I will take them up and then go back up at the end of the week to bring them home. I hope that they get along and work hard on their merit badges and advancement. It should be a good week, they are a good bunch of boys.

I was very greatful for the Bus when I woke up and saw this out the window!

Speaking of camping in the cold, 2 weeks ago was the father & son camp out. It was a lot of fun, it was quite rainy and windy heading up, but the bus did just fine. We were the first ones from our ward up there so we picked out a good spot for the bus, and got it set up and hung out in the bus as the rain came down for a while. The boys had fun exploring and playing with friends, and poking sticks in the fire. The bus was nice and cozy, especially in the morning when we woke up to 3 inches of snow. It was funny to have snow in the middle of May on a camp out...boy winter just won't let up!