Tuesday, October 27, 2009

in-n-out is almost here!

I just found out that in-n-out will be opening in Draper on November 17th. Draper is only 15 minutes from us here in Highland. There's one still under construction in Orem, but I'm not sure when it will open. I am just SO EXCITED!

I'm not big on red meat. Once a month Brent will grill steak (and he does a super great job), and I'm usually good with two or three bites. I don't ever cook with beef. I'm better with poultry and fish. Usually the heavy proteins are just TOO heavy for me. But for some reason, I never feel bad after eating an in-n-out burger.

What's so great about in-n-out you ask? Well, here is just a short list of reasons why it's the best place to buy a burger:

1- They use the highest quality and freshest meat.
2- Their fries actually look and TASTE like real potatoes (because they are - no sugar added).
3- Animal style or no onion/extra tomato; they always make it to order.
4- The people working there are NICE!
5- Their restaurants are always clean.
6- FRESH iceberg lettuce, RIPE juicy tomatoes.
7- Lemon-up.
8- Yummiest buns.
9- "Secret" sauce.
10- Shakes made from REAL ice cream.
11- Affordable.
12- They give my kids stickers.

Last friday Mercedes told me that she wants to go to in-n-out for her birthday. Looks like that's where you'll find us on Nov. 21st.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

He did it!

I am continually amazed by Cooper. It's so fun to have a two year old who speaks so well, because we get to find out just how much he knows.

He loves to say the prayer when we eat, or at night when we have family prayer. Usually he will repeat what he's told, either by me or by Mercedes.

Tonight I asked him if he'd like to say the prayer, and he said yes. I asked him, "would you like to do it all by yourself?" Cooper is all about doing things all by himself, so of course his answer was yes. I was amazed when he just went ahead and said the prayer... perfectly!

What a kid.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A note from Brent:

It is starting to cool off here in the desert. The temperatures have been only getting up into the 70s and down into the 40s/50s at night. The dust still floats around like a fog. Fortunately I do not have to work outside, because they have to deal with it constantly.

I am starting to see more patients during the day. The word is getting out that I am here and people are taking advantage of the chance to get a cleaning (yippy skippy a cleaning) my favorite part of dentistry. I did get a more challenging case yesterday. A patient had a crown placed before she came. It was one of her front lateral teeth on top. The tooth had gone through some extensive dentistry before it came to me and to me it is a non-restorable tooth, but out here there are not the materials to fix a problem like that so I had to improvise. I drilled out some of the filling material from the root canal that had been done down about 5 mm. Then I bonded a piece of paper clip into the crown and cemented it back in place where I had made the hole. That seemed to work pretty well. She came back and I tried to move it and it would not move so we are going to see how long that will last.

I finished reading a book called "the Undaunted" last night. It was about the some of the pioneers that settled down near the four corners area. It was a pretty good book about one how these people from Yorkshire became converted and what they had to go through as a pioneer company to make their new settlements. Sounds pretty tough to me. I am glad that I did not have to go through that time period. Those were some tough people back then.

So Halloween is coming up in a little while. I am going to go as an army guy and carry a 9 mm around all the time. Then I will fix all the peoples halloween candy teeth because the are pulling there crowns out with the sticky pieces (happened this week). Sound like a good idea? How about you guys what are you going to go as? Dad probably as one of the Spanish conquestadores (not sure if that is spelled right). Mom as the wild cowgirl that tamed the west with her trusty sidekick Teddy. Suzanne as as Aspen tree hugger. Gerratt as the quick draw master with his .22 cal pea shooter. Lisa as the zoo keeper in charge of 3 wild animals. Cooper as the youngest taxi driver who will help you buckle your seat belt so he can drive fast. Mercedes as a princess of course, but which one will be the suprise. Lincoln as CPT smiley so that he can show off his new upper teeth.

Well, Love you all and hope things are great back in the states. It is a wonderful place to be. We really need to appreciate how beautiful it is. Yes, there are retards who govern it, but hopefully someday there will be somebody able to fix some of the problems.

A paper clip? Really? Who are you, MacGyver?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

"I drive my car."

Cooper makes me laugh every day.

This morning he was pretending to "drive his car." He got out of the armchair that was serving as his car and said, "I'm home!" I asked him if he had fun driving his car, and then asked if he drove fast or slow. He thought for a minute, "uhhhh..." and then said, "I put my seatbelt on. Then go fast." And then, "I go feed the chickens now."

(My dad keeps chickens with a friend at the friends house - because my mom does not want them messing all over her yard - and sometimes has to go down to Provo to feed the chickens. Cooper loves to go with him.)

Currently, he is driving Mercedes and Grandma in "the little taxi car." They're going to Jupiter. When Grandma got in the car Cooper said, "I put on your seatbelt" and put Grandma's seatbelt on.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Stryker Brigade

I've gotten to talk to Brent a few times this week. On Saturday night he called to tell me, "happy anniversary!" (Pretty sad that I didn't even realize it was our anniversary until that call, but that's a whole other post.) Each time I talk to him, I learn a bit more about what life is like at Kandahar.

Brent's brigade (Fort Lewis’ 5th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division), is the first Stryker Brigade in Afghanistan. They were originally assigned to Iraq, but as the need for troops there fell and the need for troops in Afghanistan rose, they were re-assigned. A Stryker is a kind of vehicle. It's kind of like a tank, but with wheels instead of tracks. Some have big guns, some don't. Apparently, there are different types of Strykers.

Here are a few examples:

Brent is the brigade's only dentist, which means that he is responsible for about 4,000 soldiers. At Kandahar, there is one Navy dentist, a Canadian dentist and I think a British dentist. He works from 8 to 5, Monday through Saturday. The tent that he works in is connected to two other identical ones, one housing the medics and one for physical therapy. Together, they are the brigade's "aid station."

Because his brigade is the newest to arrive at Kanadhar, they are living in tents and using "port-o-johns." There are about 15 bunkbeds lined up in each tent. (Luckily he's on the bottom because Brent has a history of falling out of the top bunk.) The showers are ice cold. Brent says that he has to warm the water in his hands and then splash himself. They should be moving into "chews" soon, which are rooms made from those containers that they ship things in. I don't know what they're called, but if you've ever been to Long Beach you'll know what I'm talking about. He says that they'll have a window and air conditioning, so they'll definitely be more comfortable. Once he moves in there, he'll have just one roommate, a really nice physical therapist. They'll still be using the port-o-johns, though. And there's no plan for heated water. I asked him why there aren't buildings for them to use, and Brent explained that since they're the latest to arrive they'll have to build everything themselves.

If you know Brent, you know how much he likes camping. I practically had to force him to take Mercedes on the ward father-daughter campout when she was four, and even then they slept in the car! So I'm impressed that he doesn't complain. He mentions often that the food is really good, so it seems that he's focusing on the positive. By the end of the day, he is covered in dirt. Because he has so much down-time, he has been able to entertain himself by studying things like drugs, and pathology; preparing himself for his oral-surgery residency.

Here's a website with news about his brigade:


Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Note from Brent

Brent sent this note out to all of his "dental" friends, explaining what life is like for him in Afghanistan. I don't even know what most of the dental terminology means, but I do think that RCT means root canal treatment or something like that.

Hey everyone,

So here is the low down on Afghanistan from the dentist point of view. I am the only US dentist on the Kandahar Air Field which is a base to 42 different countries and about the size of SLC in population. There are a few dentists from Canada and Great Britian. Our clinic is not very busy though, at least yet because not too many are aware that I am here yet. Most of the work that I will be doing is RCT, ext, minimal restorative procedures and prophy's. I am training my assistant to do the prophy's though so that I dont have to. The set up is almost exactly like AYUDA. The only difference is that I actually finish the RCT and the dental unit is electric rather than air driven. We ordered a rotary hand piece for doing endo so we will see how long that takes to get here. I work out of a tent that is about 16 feet in diameter and it is connected to about 4 other tents that are about the same size. It is called the aid station because we are combined with a PA and about 7 medics who take care of other health issues (minor sick call for soldiers). Our work day starts at about 8 am and goes to about 5. The dentist that was here before had a 2 hr lunch break during that time to go work out. I am not sure if I am going to have that or not I am still deciding. We have digital xrays that are pretty good (DEXIS) system.

The food here is really good. You could get fat real easy here if you are not careful. They have meals 3 different times during the day and a midnite buffet for those who have night shifts. They have fresh fruit (melons, peaches, strawberries, grapes, apples, oranges) not all at the same time but with different meals. They also have burgers, fries and corn dogs for every meal if you want them. Then they have fresh made omletts or different types of eggs, sausage, pancakes, french toast. Basically anything you would want for breakfast. Lunch usually has the same kind of lunch meals that people would be use to with salads, and sandwiches. Dinner the same kind of thing they have mexican nights, chinese nights. They even have 6 different cafeteria like places (DFAC) that specialize in different styles of cooking.

The temp here is in the 90s right now but is starting to go down into the 80s. The mornings are in the 50s. There is dust everywhere. Nothing stays clean inside or out. My nose is constantly full of dirt. I dont know how a person could live here constantly. No wonder they are so mad all the time. They use our garbage to make bombs against us. They learn to make bombs when they are about 5 yrs old here so there are many children without limbs or other missing parts because of explosives they play with.

It is fairly safe on the base where I am at. The size of it prevents too much from happening around here because if anyone tried anything they would not live to long after.

They do have some extracurricular activities around such as basketball, volleyball, lots of xbox, football games that are mostly in the middle of the night because of the time difference. The internet here is extremely slow so I dont email or use the internet much. I can make phone calls every once in a while, but again the time difference and the access to the phone is limited.

So that is it in a nut shell


Happy Halloween!

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

family fun

The best part of living in Utah is getting to spend time with family.  When we lived in Southern California, we were able to make two to three trips home every year.  While in South Carolina, we really missed those visits.  

Lincoln at Gram's house.

Linc and Aunt Suzanny

Gram and Aunt Suzanne

Gram has the BEST books, and Cooper 
loves to sit in her chair to read them.
This favorite is a pop-up all about the ocean.

In American Fork canyon, we had a fun picnic on 
the last warm weekend of the year.  
Here, Mercedes is cooking her own hot-dog.

And eating it.

With cousins on an Autumn Sunday afternoon.
Britton, Kimball, Mercedes and Avery.
Mercedes and Cooper LOVE to be with their cousins.

Cooper, Britton, Aiden, Kimball, Avery, Mercedes, and Liam.
(Lincoln was in the car eating).

Monday, October 5, 2009

He made it!

We finally heard from Brent. Yahoo!!! He's made it all the way to Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan. Instead of forwarding various family members the email, I'll just post it here:

I have been trying to email, call, email, call, but it seems like there is everything not working to allow me to get in touch with you. Things are great here. It seems like a pretty safe place due to the size. It is like living in a city with thousands of people constantly going places. The food is pretty good with fresh vegetables and fruit and stuff. I dont think that I will be that busy here from the looks of it. I will be working out of a tent for a while and the set up is like an AYUDA set up, but that is okay. People here are pretty nice and the weather has been very comfortable, mostly because the air conditioning works so well. The temp is normally in the 90s outside. It is very dusty here though. Like a continual cloud hovering over the base. The mail system is pretty good supposedly so I dont think that it will be a problem mailing stuff. They have not given me an address, but I dont have space yet to get any mail anyway. Hope this email reaches you. I will try and figure out a way to call sometime soon. Glad to hear the kids are doing well tell them I love them and miss them. Love you lots too.


I am so relieved to know where he is and to have heard from him. I feel like now I can feel normal again. So life is good. Thanks for all of your love and prayers and concern. We're so grateful for your support and kind words.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Attention All Husbands!!!!

I have an important message for you.  Are you listening?  No, I mean really listening?  OK.  Here goes:



The last time that I talked to Brent, he was in Virginia and not even sure of what country he was flying to next.  That was Wednesday night.  I've been away from him for extended periods of time before (6-8 wks), and knew that I'd be fine.  I thought, "I won't get lonely for a while." 


It hit me the first night that I was alone and the kids were in bed and I couldn't call him.  I didn't know where he was or when I might talk to him again.  I felt a sort of hollowness, and it's stayed with me.  It's not overwhelming.  It doesn't keep me up at night.  It just gnaws at me.  Throughout the day I have thoughts like, "I wonder where he is," and, "I wonder if they're feeding him and if he's getting any sleep" (he doesn't sleep on airplanes).  I also have the "worst case scenario" of, "he could be dead and I wouldn't even know it."  

My friend Stacey has experienced a few deployments of her (then) Navy husband.  She called me today to see how I'm doing (thank you again Stacey!).  She explained that the emotions experienced during a deployment are similar to the grieving process.  There's shock (you mean this is what life is going to be like for the next 10 months?), loneliness, depression, anger (at HIM for leaving), and then guilt when you are able to cope and even enjoy life again on your own.  At least I'm not pregnant!  She had her last two babies while her husband was at sea.  Talk about terrifying.  

I really shouldn't even be worried.  He's not one of the heroic infantry soldiers who actually patrol the towns, clearing out terrorists.  They won't even let Brent travel by convoy (if he ever has to leave the base to treat soldiers), because he's the only dentist for his company.  These are the things I tell myself in response to worried thoughts.  I cannot express how much I admire the wives (and/or husbands, of course) of the infantry soldiers.  They are amazing.  Those soldiers return to combat zones again and again.  

But of course I do worry because that's just what I do.  It's pretty much who I am.  I know, I'll keep working on it.  And I'll feel a million times better when I get to hear his voice again and know where he is.  

Control freak?  Who me?