Archive for » December, 2008 «

December 30th, 2008 | Author:

I wished for a white Christmas this year and I really got it.  We left sunny (well, sort of rainy) southern California last week before Christmas and flew to my grandparents’ farm in the middle of North Dakota.  I wanted enough snow to make a snowman or at least have a snowball fight with my dad but we didn’t want to have bad weather on the days we were flying.

The plane made it to Bismarck on time but since it was pretty late on Dec. 23, my grandma and grandpa didn’t want to take a chance driving on the highway the 40 miles at night so my mom’s sister came to pick us up at the airport and we stayed with them that night.

It was COOOOOOOOLLLLLDDDDDD!!!  No, it was FREEEEEEEEZING!  and tons of snow!

Snowball fight

Snowball fight

The next day, my grandma came to pick us up and we drove to their farm.  Even more snow!  About 2 feet all over but around the yard where my grandpa scooped the snow up into huge piles so they could drive to the road, there was even more snow.   I had never seen that much snow . . .  EVER!  The funny thing was, the snow was really fluffy and dry because it was so cold which meant it wasn’t good for making snowballs or snowmen but my dad and I still played around throwing snow at each other for awhile.

On Christmas day, the temperature got up to around 15 degrees above zero so grandma and I put on our snow suits, bundled up and started to dig out a snow fort.  Near their house, the wind had blown and piled up a snow bank about 6-7 feet high.  That’s where we started digging a hole.

Beginning of snow fort

Beginning of snow fort

By the time Mom came out all bundled up, Grandma and I had already dug a hole in the snow bank about 3-feet deep.  Mom decided it wasn’t big enough compared to the snow fort she and her sisters had made when they were kids so her and I kept digging into the snow bank farther and farther.  

New snow drift over snow fort door

New snow drift over snow fort door

We dug out enough snow to make the fort about 8 feet across but it was only about 4 feet high so you had to crawl in and then couldn’t really sit up straight.  The next day it snowed again and blew which made the door get half covered with more new snow.  It also piled up on top of the hill so the weight of the new snow made the height inside even lower which meant the next day we had to do more digging and shoveling out of snow.

Bigger snow fort

Bigger snow fort

Once it was fairly big inside, I decided to try and experiment by digging a small hole in the side of the wall and then I stuck a plastic bottle of root beer in to see how long it would take to get cold and frosty.   After an hour or so when I thought it should have been really slushy, it was only about as cold as the refrigerator.  Grandma said it was because the snow actually acted like an insulator and wouldn’t let it freeze.  It would have gotten colder if I would have just left it sitting on the ground outside.

I’d had enough for awhile so after I went in the house to warm up and play cards with Grandma, my mom and dad walked around the yard taking pictures of everything covered with snow.   Then Dad decided to make a snow angel so here’s that video.   Click this link.  Snow Angel Dad

Dad, Me, and Mom

Dad, Me, and Mom

Then when it finally warmed up to about 22 degrees on Christmas day, we hurried outside and had Grandma take a family picture.  Mom had the bright idea to use this as our 2009 Christmas card.  Even though that was the warmest it got all week, it was still too cold to be outside without coats.

It was a fun week and went by way too fast.  I’ve been lucky to go to their farm almost every summer but I’ve only been there twice for Christmas and the last time was a long time ago. 

The day we left Bismarck, North Dakota on the plane, it was delayed over an hour before taking off.  We made our connection in Minneapolis to San Diego but didn’t get home and in bed until after 2 a.m. which was really 4 a.m. on body time.  So it was a very long trip home.

Now, I’ve got just 5 more days until school starts again.

December 24th, 2008 | Author:

I hope everyone had a great year and if not, 2009 will be better.   Since we’ll be busy eating lots of food tomorrow, this will be my last post until after Christmas.

I’ve been really lucky with a lot of things but the best things in my life are my parents.  I have the best parents ever and I know that I wouldn’t have gotten many of the opportunities without them.

I just received an e-mail from Inspire Me Today ( letting me know that they will be re-running me as a featured luminary on their website on Dec. 27.   Make sure to log on and read my story.
December 24th, 2008 | Author:

#12 – Think BIG!

I’ve learned this from my mom.  She’s a tiny person but she always thinks big.  If she gets an idea in her head, she doesn’t do baby steps to the top, she takes a giant leap right up there.   There have been so many times since I started my business that out of the blue, she’ll look at me and say, “something big is going to happen.”  She’s not psychic or anything and not really sure what that “something big” is but she just believes it.  Maybe that’s the power of suggestion as they say.  If you think it will happen, there’s a better chance it will.

But the ironic thing is, she’s been right many times so when she says something like that, it kind of gets me excited wondering what is coming.

I’ve had big plans for my business for a long time and right from the start, I went right to the top.  In fact, it was maybe about 5-6 months after I started when I decided to send a set of Pencil Bugs and matching bookmarks to guess who?  Yep, Bill Gates!  I knew there wasn’t much of a chance that he would even receive them but I thought, why not?   IF he happened to actually get them and IF he thought I was a pretty good young entrepreneur and IF he just happened to use one of my Pencil Bugs on a pen to sign something in the media, what better attention could I get than to have Bill Gates using a very cool pencil topper?

Well, it’s been almost three years and I have never heard anything from him or even received a form letter but that’s okay.  One reporter wrote about it in a newspaper article and a customer of mine actually had a friend of Gates so you just never know who knows who and what could happen.

If SpongeBob can have toys, cartoons, books, and a movie, then Pencil Bugs can too.

So whatever you do in life, THINK BIG!  You might surprise yourself. 🙂

December 23rd, 2008 | Author:

#11 –  If you make a mistake, get over it and move on.

This pretty much says it all.  We can try and try, as hard as we might but sometimes we’re just going to make mistakes.  That’s the way it is.   For me, it seems like whenever I make a mistake, if I keep thinking about it, I end up making more mistakes because I get so preoccupied with the first one.

Sometimes I get embarassed depending on the mistake I’ve made but I’ve finally learned that if I can laugh at myself and even make a joke about it, it helps to get over it quicker.  I guess what we all need to remember is that no one is perfect.  Mistakes are bound to happen but it’s good to not make the same mistakes over and over again.

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December 22nd, 2008 | Author:

#10 – Treat everyone with respect – good customer service can make all the difference.



My parents told me people used to say that the customer was always right.  Well, maybe that’s not always so but if it weren’t for customers, businesses wouldn’t exist.   My business is still small compared to a lot so I’m still able to send a personal thank you and confirmation for every order I receive.  If someone just wants to ask me a question, I always send a reply back.  But since I’m still a kid and you never know who is really on the other end of the e-mail, my mom or dad make sure they read all messages. 

People have asked me if I plan on giving the same kind of customer service when my business gets really big.  It’s hard to say how things will change because I figure they probably will but at least I want to always make people feel like they really count.

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