Sunday, October 02, 2016


Busch Gardens, another bucket list item accomplished.  It wasn't as much fun without KK et al. but we still enjoyed ourselves nonetheless.  This weekend was my 20th high school reunion and after several weeks of attempting to get ahold of the three friends that I really was hoping to see, I finally gave up on the idea when they informed me they weren't going to be able to make it.  Ten hours in a car to see people that hardly recognize me and watch a 2A football game just didn't really seem appealing.  So instead we grabbed the boys and took SeaWorld up on their offer of an annual free pass to their parks for military.  It really was cool and we are very grateful to that company for carrying on that gracious offer for so many years.  Btw, amusement parks in early October = great idea.

David is getting big.  He is the sweetest boy you could imagine, and he thinks he is every bit as big as his older brothers (ironic because Mackay tries to act every bit as young as his little brother).  But David is at a point that I vividly remember with all of my children; I can't pick him up and carry him without effort any more.  In Utah I remember pulling Beeg out of the car one night way too late, and he was so heavy I almost considered waking him and having him walk up to bed.  I can see every detail in my minds eye.  Mackay was in Idaho when I came out to visit him while transitioning down here to Florida, I lifted him up a couple five stairs and realized I wouldn't be able to do that much longer.

It happened this weekend with David.  I don't know why this is important to me but it is.  I think it's because they stop being my physical 'babies' and their heft is how I know they have grown to become even more.  On top of that, David is my last (barring unforeseen circumstances) and that realization stings a bit sharper than the first two.  I thoroughly enjoy being a dad and am trying my best to figure out how to be a better one.  It's a pleasure with that child, I really mean that.

On another note: Mackay was stressing pretty heavily about how hard we were pushing him to put his stuff away, brush his teeth, take a bath, put on his clothes, read his scriptures and generally just get ready for bed.  So in the litany of redirection he was constantly receiving he tossed the best hand-grenade he had over his shoulder on the way out of the room. "I might as well go to the Air Force Academy!  They'd treat me just like this any how and I'd get a good meal three times a day."  Let me just tell you son ... you're right.  Good luck.  I'll write you often.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Cole Slaw Sucks

I hate cole slaw.  When I was a 3 year old child my very first memory of life was going to the next door neighbor's house and Ms. Deanna baby sitting me while my mom worked at the hospital.  I can still picture her front room and the kitchen/breakfast area quite vividly.  I used to sneak under the high chair by the sliding glass door and eat the dog food from the bowl kept under there.  Don't tell anyone.  

I remember all of this so well because that is where the I had cole slaw for the first time.  Deanna made me some for lunch and tried the shredded carrots and cabbage very tentatively.  I didn't like it.  Then she insisted, so I choked down a full spoonful.  She was so pushy that to this day I don't feel bad about puking all down her hallway as I ran to the bathroom.  I've never been able to keep the stuff down since then and really I don't care to try anymore.

Fast forward.

We do this thing in our family.  Every night we fight over getting teeth brushed, PJ's on, scriptures read and a family prayers said.  And some time's I really do mean fight.  

So after the prayer, we get up from our knees and do a big family hug.  It's a mess of blonde hair and arms trying to squeeze harder than dad can.  It's always pretty funny, particularly because David always ends up squished in the middle.  He can't read scriptures yet so he tends to float during the reading and stay floating during the prayer.  Usually he ends up in the middle of the circle because that where he can get the most attention.  

I don't know where it started but a while back we started deciding what kind of ingredients to the sandwich we were.  Like, it's a mommy-dAddie sandwich with a slice of provolone cheese, a dill pickle and mustard if they were wearing a white, green and yellow shirt that evening.  They would come up with what ever ingredient they wanted to based on their clothing color.  

So the other day it was particularly difficult to accomplish the bedtime routine and I got a bit "snippy".  I didn't make any friends and pretty much everyone was fed up with my hollering at them. But they also knew not to talk back to me any more.  So any shots had to be subversive.  

As we held close in our tight little family hug, each boy began imagining what they were.  Brigham said he was ketchup.  Mackay said he was cole slaw (despite wearing a purple shirt) and David was a pickle.  

I don't know if you caught that.  Mackay was cole slaw.  The one food that he knows makes dAddie so sick he throws up and won't even touch.  That little shit.  and I say that in the most loving Grandma B way.  He got me.  He got me good and all I could do was smile when he couldn't see my face and squeeze the whole mess of family even harder than my normal Anaconda Squeeze.  Because I really may not be able to wrap my arms around this whole group much longer.  

On a side note.  Grandma Ruth fell last week.  She broke her hip and had a replacement surgery done to try and fix it; though it doesn't look good.  I knew my Great Grandma Hicken very briefly and was as old as Brigham is now when I got the phone call that said she had passed away.  The tears I cried that afternoon in our trailer home in Provo still stick with me.  I hope Grandma Ruth kicks this but I fear for the worst.  It is sweet to hear my boys pray for her without my prodding.  They are good and she is great.

Sunday, July 24, 2016


Today I sat in church and noticed that my boys were different.  Brigham's hands are changing.  They are long.  The bones have stretched.  They aren't chubby little boys hands anymore.  They are the extension of long strong arms that are becoming manipulators.  It was weird to look at that and see it for the first time. 

He argues with us a lot.  Sometimes just to argue.  Several years ago we took him in to have him tested and the child neuropsychologist came back saying two things.  "Your kid is dang smart and he has oppositional defiant disorder.  But not bad, just a touch."  The older he gets the more we can see that.  Until it is 'his' idea you can forget about making it happen.  As parents we are learning how to handle that and how to teach him within these constraints.  Really it's not too bad.  If you were just hanging out with him you might think he was a bit wild but nothing excessive.

Today after church we laid down on the couch to watch a movie Bro Burton gave us and to nap for a while.  I ended up with BGB laying on my right arm until it was well asleep; DTB was under feet slithered around both legs like a snake in a cane forest and CMB was on top.  When I say he was on top I mean he was just >plop< on top.  Kid inch-wormed his way from snuggling to laying his head on my belly to positioning himself prostrate perpendicular to my chest but completely on top.  It was all quite a sight, blondies everywhere and wonderful every one. 

The thing I didn't mention is that Mackay squished me to the point that I called 'uncle'.  He weighs more than either of his bean pole brothers and sometimes it's really funny to watch his butt as he runs down the hall.  He might be changing from a tight end to maybe a right guard.

David is kind of unlike any 4 year-old we've had to this point.  BG was the first and could stay in childhood innocence for an extended period of time.  CM was his partner in crime and all but mirrored his experience.  DT on the other hand grew up 4 years older than his is.  He wrestles and rumbles just like the big ones.  Talks back like them too.  Every once in a while though his age betrays him.  He will sing a child song or play with 'baby' toys or snuggle up to his mother and her heart will melt again.  At night he won't go to bed unless mother lays down with him.  He will allow me in the room if I sing him "Have I Done Any Good" in my native tongue.  He calls it The Portuguese Song.  I am summarily dismissed after he is satisfied.

These kids are good.  BG and CM both scored 5/5 on their end of year standardized tests.  Some of the very highest in their school and the cool thing is that they were the top 3 schools in the state, Florida is a big-ass state.  (the other two where specialty schools at Florida State Univ and some private school).  I love them and even if they were dumb as bricks I'd brag up and down a tree.

Daaaaaaaaviiiid <--- DTB typed this.

david  mom haircut
I love my mullet (I just tricked him into typing this too)

Sunday, April 10, 2016

My Baptizm Story by Mackay Bradbury

Below is a transcript (spelling uncorrected) of Mackay's journal entry he made today chronicling his recent baptism as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

"This is my story about me getting baptized.  I was so nervus about getting baptized.  I had the most highly contguis nervous bugs.  I felt more exicted than I felt being super nervous.  I got there and there was very few people there.  By the time we had to start there were about forty five people there.  Most of the popultaion was by the children.  Less adults came then children came to my baptizm.  I was really hoping that the children would be baptized someday.  Some kids were already baptized.  I hope that everyone in my family will be baptized someday.  I am so sure that my baby brother will be baptized like me.  The refreshments were yummy.  I had at least seven mini chocalate doughnuts.  I have had a fun time remebering my baptizum I hope that whoever reads this will aslo be baptized just like me."

It was very cute.  I'm glad he wrote it down.  Two things to note: first that he really cares for and is genuinely always concerned about his little brother's well being.  And second that he likes the doughnuts.  I just wanted to put it in here in case we ever lost that little journal that the Primary gave him.

A couple of days prior we took pictures of him out on the Soundside beach.  There were a ton of shots to try and get 3-4 where I didn't screw it up and he was smiling at the same time.  Even getting that was a friggin Christmas miracle.  His Grandma Susie came for the nearly two weeks before the baptism and his Meema and Buhpa stayed for nearly two weeks afterward.  It has been absolutely wonderful having them here and letting boys experience them.

I was surprised at how many folks did show up to the ceremony.  It was on a Friday night due to the schedules of everyone involved and soccer and taekwondo.  I don't have an exhaustive list-I just thought it notable how many showed up to support this young man whom the ward has grown to love.

I was privileged to both baptize my boy and then confirm him a member.  Michelle and Gene both spoke and the grandmothers bookended the meeting with a prayer apiece.

I love you Mackay.  Thank you for following our Savior's example.  I could not be more proud of you for it.


Cameo--Word Up:

On a much lighter note--the other day 4 year-old David disappears in my bathroom to presumably take care of some business with a man about a horse.  A couple of minutes later I see the boy with his pants down around his ankles in a downward facing dog position and I hear the little man holler out "Dad!! My bum is in the air like I just don't care!!  Could you please wipe my bum for me?"

It was an offer I just couldn't refuse.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Down with Upward

Today was our boys last basketball game at Upward basketball.  It's a program sponsored by the local baptist church.  They do a great job of making it fun by having a light and fog show for the kids to run through before each game.  Cheerleaders form a tunnel and parents make almost as much noise as the booming loudspeaker voice.  They take time to sit down and talk teamwork values with the kids and the refs are more interested in teaching 8 and 9 year-olds the game itself than making sure every call is precisely right.  In short it is a great venue for this age group and a great idea.

But the real purpose is evangelical missionary work.  Their extensive marketing creates a captive audience and at least a portion of this audience does not attend their church, so before each game some one gets up and offers a fairly extensive witness of how they came to Christ.  Because of work lately I've only had the opportunity to come to two games; the first game I enjoyed that part of the spectacle.  Today the guy giving it made me just want to spit.

Earlier this week during practice Michelle noted that during one of their team 'sit-down and preach' sessions Brigham was pulled out into the hall by one of the senior preachers/program directors.  By himself.  Without his mother or even her permission.  She saw it happen because she watches like a hawk.  She told me that she felt very uncomfortable and like she ought to get up and go see what was going on out there.  They weren't doing this with the other kids.  Just mine.  Following the conversation the preacher escorted Brigham back to the gymnasium and gave a sly but very obvious thumbs up to Brigham's coach. This had not been an incidental conversation, it was a targeted hit job.

We don't hide the fact that we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Some call us Mormon's after a prophet and author of a book we believe is scripture.  Our boys wear a lot of BYU gear and for heaven's sake #1 is named Brigham.  We are not in your face about it but it certainly not something we are ashamed about.  Evangelicals have a significant problem with us though for the life of me I can't figure out why.  Mitt Romney was vilified by them and yet Donald Trump is nigh unto Christ in their voting block--need I say more?

After practice and on the ride home Michelle spoke carefully with Briggie about the conversation he had been subjected to out in the hallway.  "Beegie-what happened out there?" "We just talked.  It felt kind of weird like I was in trouble or something."  "What did he say to you?"  "He asked me if I believed in Jesus and if I read the bible."  "And what did you tell him?"  "Oh I told him that I love Jesus very much and that I believe that the bible is true!"  

The little shit was being subversively cornered by an adult preacher--without his parents consent--and he had the gumption to bare testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  His only regret was that he didn't remember to bare witness about the Book of Mormon.  He was proud of this encounter.  Possibly his first conscious effort to share the gospel with others.  And I am very proud of him too.

I'm proud of Michelle as well.  I wanted/want to line those two dudes up against a wall and go 4-degree on their asses.  She asked me to slow down, think about it and come to a level response.  Then she forbade me from doing anything.

I'm not sure what sort of venomous seeds they feel they have the right to plant in such a dishonest way but I will tell you that pisses me off more than I can express in words.  I was there.  His mother was there.  During anyone of those games they could have very easily approached and conversed with us in regard to religion.  Invite.  Welcome.  Embrace and love.  Don't go behind my back to a minor in a one on one situation.  Don't subvert our morals and attempt to twist the views of my children without my express and implicit permission.  That is crooked and disingenuous.

We came to the Upward program for the shared christian values that could help our children become men.  But now that I know what they truly value I'm not interested.  They speak of love and they speak of truth but their actions are dishonest and their intentions are stained with dishonor.  I'll have a hard time allowing them to ever step into those churches or participate in Upward basketball ever again.

Though through it all I am very proud of BGB.  I'm glad he's proud of it.  He still doesn't know the evil intentions of that man and he won't for a long time.  Because I'd much rather he felt the goodness of that spirit he felt while baring testimony of Jesus Christ.  Well done Brigham.

And I admit, the fact that the mormon kids were some of the best on the court made me smile in a bit of an unrighteous way too.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Mr. Blondies Goes to Washington

This morning the coolest thing happened.  I slept in and then David climbed into bed with me to sort of get me awake.  We joked and laughed.  I spoke to him in portuguese and he made up a funny language to speak to me in.  We pulled the covers over our head and let the light come through in a funny gingham pattern and we talked about preschool friends and being ticklish.

Then Brigham came in.  He's had troubles sleeping for a while and so sometimes when he sleeps in, Mommie just lets him sleep in.  So there were the three of us.  I mean four of us--Briggie never goes anywhere in the morning without his stuffed animal Tigee (pronounced 'Tie-geeee).  We lay there joking playing giggling and up and out laughing for quite some time.  It was a moment I don't want to forget.  I'll always have those boys and this morning.  

I suppose it would have been nice to have a camera to take a snapshot of that moment but really I think that might have stolen a bit of it's soul.  


I'm home from my last deployment.  Yea.  We spent two weeks just playing and being together, it was nice.  I started a few 'honey-do' jobs, though I was a pretty miserable failure at actually finishing any of them.  And then last week I had to go on a TDY to Washington D.C.  We figured, what better way to hang out as a family?  

So instead of buying a plane ticket we all climbed in the van (the one that breaks down on highways and needs engines replaced all too frequently) and we drove to D.C.  We were in a fancy Hyatt in Arlington which in many ways is worse than being in a lower level hotel just because there aren't any other families and they didn't have a pool or breakfast bar.  But we got along just fine.  

We got there a day early so that I could go to a museum with them, so of course the first day was the Air and Space.  It was pretty much all we could do to keep those crazies in line, and there were two of us.  I had both of the older boys hand in my pocket for about half the day because they were so out of control.  Poor Michelle got to keep taking them out on excursions all week and she was all by herself.  She is brave and kind of a sucker for saying yes to that idea.  

They explored the American History, Natural History, Spy, and American Indian museums as well as the White House, the Lincoln, Vietnam, and Jefferson memorials; and even tried to go to the mint (some grumpy guard turned them away).  And finally they went all the way up to the steps of the capital building.  

It was a fun town to explore though the traffic sucks and it is tremendously expensive.  We ate at a great little Brazilian steak house in Georgetown for my birthday and got a flat tire just outside of Auburn Alabama on the way home.  I hope that it is an experience the Blondies never forget.  I also hope we can do many more things like that with them in the coming years.  They are pretty amazing and we love being with them, even with all the crazy.

Saturday, January 09, 2016


I'm still deployed.  So we talk a lot on the phone and especially Facebook.  Indeed for Christmas I watched the whole thing from a computer monitor set up in the living room.  It was pretty great to still be able to take part in some distant way.  I guess Marty McFly wasn't so far off after all.

Today I called, just like normal.  We didn't talk about anything in particular but these are the things I saw.  Brigham was outside shooting hoops.  He kept coming over to me and asking for challenges.  "Hit three in a row...great, now do two lay ups. Dribble twice and then shoot while running. ... Hit three bank three from behind that line...and now from behind the Jimmer line." (Which is silly if you think about it because there is no line that can contain Jimmer). He was really getting into it.  Brigham has always been a soccer kid but I think this basketball thing may have piqued his interest a bit.

David had an allergic reaction to a friends cat yesterday.  His eyes were all puffy and still kind of red. That didnt stop him from engaging however.  He laid on the bed 'taking s tiny nap' with his mom when Brigham offered to help D clean up the kitchen, a genuine and kind offer no less.  But just to be a contrarian, David flipped out and physically forced Brigham from the work space because it was his job and he was going to do it alone.  We may need to work on common sense with this boy.

I talked to Mackay for about 13 seconds.  The entire rest of the time he was curled up on a soft chair reading another Harry Potter book.  I think it's #7 but I really don't know.  He goes through those things like aunt KK used to go through boyfriends.  Seriously, that's a pretty similar time scale, he's fast.  His reading skills are really remarkable.  This afternoon I went through a bunch of letters I got from kids in the primary back home, and cousins and such and as I read them I noticed that there was a notable difference in CMBs ability to construct sentences, build paragraph structure, develope ideas and use a surprisingly complex vernacular. E.g.: "Signed your one and truly, Mackay". Also of note it was a second draft.  The first stated something to the effect of: 'I really hope you don't crash your airplane or get shot down and die in a fiery ball of gas and explosives.'  So do I Mack, so do I.  His mother kindly asked him to rewrite the opening stanza before sending it to me out here.

Yesterday Michelle met up with a friend whose husband very graciously took all three boys for the evening and they went out for dinner and some light shopping.  I very much appreciated that.  I also said light shopping because Michelle took care of the heavy stuff today when she dropped the boys off at the base's "Give Mom a Break" daycare for deployed spouses.  I suppose that bill is my fault for being gone on her birthday.  ... Oh crap, I really did realize just now that tomorrow is my beautiful brides birthday.  Despite her showing me the shoes she bought (both pair) and the necklace that Connie bought for her in my stead, I forgot to mention Happy Birthday to her tonight.  It's ok, the actual birthday is not until tomorrow and I can probably even use the old, "I'm sorry honey is was just a really hard day of flying" excuse one more time this rotation.  I think, though that one is admittedly probably getting old.  Anybody got any ideas?  Or some flowers I could borrow? I heart you Chelle.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

It's 'levi-Oh-sah, not levi-o-SAH!'

I'm deployed to the Middle East again.  It's not bad, just far away.  Today Michelle sent me a couple of pictures of boys just because.  They have been playing a lot of YMCA soccer lately and she toted the camera to yesterday's games.  They were all very cute and I enjoyed seeing them very much.  There was one image that I found particularly indicative of my boys.  It was of Mackay.  He was standing alone on the defensive end of the field.  He had obviously just cleared out an attackers attempt at his goal and sent the gaggle of kids chasing the ball to the other end of the field.

He was determined and had just succeeded; it was a great photo.  But as I looked closer at the picture I noticed something else.

In the background were two slightly out of focus figures.  Brigham was seated studiously reading a book. I mean tearing that thing apart.  And David was perched over his oldest brother's shoulder trying to see what so so cool.  They all love reading and for that I am extremely grateful.

Mother and I finally conceded that the boys were old enough and allowed them to start Harry Potter last week and they have absolutely fallen for it.  Mackay finished book one in two days and Brigham finished both one and two in just over nine days.  Ridiculous.

We may have just shifted from Star Wars to Harry Potter--Universal Studios is going to be fun this year.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Giant Slugs From Outer Space

When we go to bed our boys are generally very good about staying in bed.  They rarely push the limits and come out to see if they can stay up a little later.  Until last night.  Brigham and Mackay are still O.K. (said tepidly).  But David is another story.

Last night I'm sitting at the computer reading about the impending college football season when out of the corner of my eye I see a giant snail creeping along the tile floor at the slowest of speeds.  He was on his elbows and knees covered completely in a warm tan blanket.  Couldn't even see where he was going.  I share a confused non-verbal communication with Michelle that went something like this: "What the...?" "...ell if I know."

She picks him up and he says "I totally just snuck past dAddie and he didn't even know it!"  Proud as peach of himself.

Then again tonight he does the same thing.  This time I'm all the way down in the kitchen.  I decide to get down on the floor and bonk heads with him as he was going in blind.  That confused him because the wall was supposed to be 18" to the left.  Mom comes over and begins to tickle him and the game is up.

 "How did you know it was me?" was his genuine and questioning reply.  Because really--separating him from all the other boulder sized fleece blanket slugs inching around under foot throughout the day is a pretty tricky task.


I took Brigham to the baptism of a beautiful young lady in the other ward today.  The sisters wanted to build a nice remembrance book for the new Laurel and so they handed out colorful cards to all the attendee's and asked them to write a sweet note to her.

I wish I had taken a picture of what Brigham crafted before I turned it in.  It was magical.

He wrote her something to this effect:

"Dear Jade- Congratulations on getting baptized.  This is the 1st step in return to live with Hevenly Father.  There are many many more steps but you are doing good and you will get there some day.  You will learn lots of great things and He loves you. Love Brigham Bradbury."

Then on the back of the card he drew a picture of her in the font being baptized.  Better than a photo.  It was great.  Like really great.  One of the sweetest things I'd seen this little boy do.


Both Mackay and Brigham started ACES this week.  Its the new rendition of GT and they absolutely love it.  Brigham is doing a module on bridges of the world.  We're doing research on the Sydney Harbor Bridge and now some Ponte in Milan Italy.  It's pretty cool.

Mackay is tearing up the opportunity to see and experience this cool program.  Ms. Julio is fantastic at stretching kids who are active and even better at directing them to be engaged in what they are learning.  His teacher is Ms. Staudt and he's now a part of the second grade Staudt's Scouts.  Brigham's third grade teacher is Mrs. Crosby of Crosby's Clever Kids fame.  DTB is attending preschool at St. Mark's in the Dolphins class and his teacher this year is Ms. Laura -- whom he already loves.  


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

David "Cannonball" Bradbury

My wife left me. Took the kids, packed the car and just drove away.  

You see I was supposed to be gone for a few months shooting bad guys in bad places but one day a week or two before my scheduled departure I got called into the boss’s office and he told me I’d been requested by his boss to go work in the command post.  It seemed like a cool opportunity and plus I’d get to be home all summer. 

I came home with the exciting news, “I don’t have to deploy Honey! Isn’t that great?”  “That’s wonderful dear, I’ll see you after my summer vacation.” wait what?  She had already planned to spend this time away in Utah and Idaho with family and it was too far along in the process to change it on the whim of a commander.  And so here sit I, a bachelor. 

Anyway, the boys have had amazing experiences with their cousins.  They climbed to the Y in Provo, topped Table Rock in the Grand Tetons, voraciously swam in Aunt KK’s pool and climbed many rocks in Vernal.  It has been a wonderful experience and I’m very grateful for such good family to take care of my little family while I’m away. 

Now they are in Idaho.  After Church last week David climbs into his Buhpa’s truck while Michelle and the other Blondies climbed into the van.  Like anything else in the Blondies lives, this immediately became a competition; one which David did not intend to lose.  Now the following is a direct quote, so prepare yourselves.

“Buhpa, this is how you win:
     1)    Get a Head Start
     2)    Go Turbo Speed
     3)    Cheat
     4)    Fire Rockets at Mommie’s Car”

I laughed rather heartily when I heard this.  So much so that I went online and had a shirt made and sent to Idaho for Buhpa.  I can’t wait until he gets it--he deserves it.  And so do I, that’s why I had a second shirt printed just for me.
I once met Mario Andretti.  He said something similar though not so eloquently. Me: "What is your favorite race?" Mario: "Any one I can win."

Last week I got a phone call from Aunt Kellie, “Hey bro. I hear that you are all by yourself.  I have some airline miles and I’m coming to see you.  Like three days later she was here.  We did service projects and went to church, we drove all over L.A. (Lower Alabama), went ghost crabbing and EV test driving.  And we ran every red light between Panama City and Foley Alabama just so we could go to Lambert’s Café together.  It was wonderful.  Thank you Kellie.

Today Mackay was talking with his Buhpa, 

“You know, I have seen a lot of cousins.  Now all I want to do is see my Dad.” 

And that is all he wants too lil buddy.