Ice Storm

For those who didn't know, and have been wondering what caused the lack of updates here on the blog, we were out of our house for about 12 days due to a massive ice storm in our area that happened a couple of weeks ago. Luckily, a friend of Lori's father helped us drain our heating system before we took off, so we didn't have any pipes burst. But we are just now finally getting our life back to some level of normalcy. So expect the updates to start rolling out again within the next day or so.

From the Archives – Spelling Bee

Here is another old newspaper clipping I pulled from that old stack of Lori's stuff. This is from the same year that I moved to Epping and Lori and I met - and started dating. I think it was her goofy haircut that attracted me the most - heh! But seriously, all that spelling acumen has paid off well. We have to spell almost every interesting word when we are in front of the kids, in order to keep things a secret. It's amazing how adept you get at it with practice - I can probably spell d-e-s-s-e-r-t faster than anyone you know. And this is off topic, but it has to be said. Dan, you look like quite the goober in that photo. Get a haircut, hippie!

Scenes From Space #45

If any of you have taken a look at the moon in the last week or two, right at sunset, you might have noticed two bright points of light right next to it. Those weren't stars though - that was Venus (the brighter of the two) and Jupiter. How cool is that?

From the Archives – Honor Roll

I found this in a stack of Lori's old stuff. It lists Lori and I as being on honor roll in 7th grade. It's weird to look at that list, and realize that I know almost every person on there. Barring just one or two exceptions, I haven't seen any of those people since graduation. It's strange how fast you lose touch, and how "meh" I feel about that. And not to call you out or anything, but - Chris, Dan - where are you on that list? Slackers. :P

HTPC Follow-Up

Well, it's been a few months since we started using the HTPC, and the verdict is in - we love it. It passed the wife-acceptance-test, which is the critical tipping point for any geeky husband to get one of his projects into the living room. It's funny though - we are using it differently than I had anticipated. Originally, I figured that the features we would use the most would be games (for me) and movies (for Lori). But it turns out that the feature that gets the heaviest workout is recording shows for the kids. We has actually turned out to be a lifesaver for our bedtime routine - I could only have watched the same dozen or so "goodnight shows" so much longer before I would have snapped. Now, we've increased the size of our library of kid's shows dramitically. But the feature that Lori and I are having the hardest time adjusting to is the fact that we can pause live TV. It must just be all those years on conditioning - we still wait for commercials if we need to get up for something. And on the very rare occasion that we do remember that we can pause, we both feel so high-tech and futuristic, even though any redneck with a TiVO has been doing this for a long time.

Blueberry Jam

Two Saturdays ago, while Lori and Carter were out shopping, Sean and I made another attempt at blueberry jam. Sean had a great time, as you can see. And this batch turned out much better than the last one, which was rock-hard once it cooled.


Just recently, we've finally started to try and put Carter's hair up in pigtails. It's been long enough for a while, but we've had a few problems when we tried in the past. First, her hair is very fine, so it tends to slide right out of whatever we try to contain it with. And second, until just recently she would just pull out whatever we did manage to get to stay in. But now she is more interested in having pigtails than in playing with the elastics, so she isn't fussing with them as much. Isn't she adorable?

Sean Bowling

In an earlier post, I mentioned the daddy-daughter day that Carter and I shared. Well, on that same day Lori took Sean out bowling. She tells me that he really enjoyed it, and didn't due half bad. He was knocking pins down, but apparently it took ages for his ball to reach the end of the lane. Pictures don't do it justice - I'd love to see a video of this. :)

Scrollsaw Cart

I've been working on building some rolling carts for the workshop. The idea is to get all of my tools mobile, so that I can easily reconfigure the workshop for whatever project I am currently working on. Building all these carts will also give me a nice amount of storage space, as well - so maybe I won't have to rely so heavily on cabinets. They're cheap and flimsy, and I'd rather get rid of them if I can. And the best side effect of getting everything mobile will be that in the winter I should be able to roll the whole shop over to one side, and maybe have enough space to fit the van in the garage. That would sure make life easier for Lori and the kids.

Daddy-Daughter Day

Last Sunday Carter and I had a Daddy-Daughter Day. Lori and I each took one of the kids to do something seperate, to see if a little one-on-one attention would do them some good. Verdict: success - both kids were better behaved, more cooperative, and just fundamentally more pleasant to be around when seperated from their sibling, and with one parent's full attention. In Sean's case, especially, the difference was shocking. I'm not sure what to do with this data now that we have it, though. :) But rather than engage in a little armchair psychology, I'd rather just tell you about the day Carter and I spent together.

First, Carter and I headed to Wal-Mart, to try to pick up some Christmas decorations for the house. While there, we spent a lot of time talking about Santa. I think she is really starting to understand the concept, and is getting excited about Christmas. She's been telling me about how Santa Claus will come down the chimney and eat cookies, and then there will be presents under the tree in the morning. I'm not sure she's figured out that it is Santa who will leave the presents, but I've been trying to explain to her how the two events are connected.

After we left Wal-Mart, we hopped back in the van to drive to Plaistow. On the way, Carter wanted to sing songs with me the whole way. Sean hates it when we try to sing in the car, so Carter was excited to finally get her chance. She only knows a line or two each of about 12 different songs, so mostly it was me singing by myself (with her mumbling and dancing along) - which I'm sure looked strange to other motorists, who couldn't see her carseat and therefore must have assumed I was alone. Although her favorite song is the one she made up herself. It goes like this: *cupcake, la la la, cupcake, la la la*. So cute.

Once we hit Plaistow, we headed to Friendly's for lunch. Carter insisted that we run from the van to the entrance, just for the sheer joy of running (we did the same when we were leaving). When we got inside, she looked over the menu thoroughly, and decided she wanted a cheeseburger. Normally, Lori and I call cheeseburgers "Crabby Patties" (from Spongebob Squarepants) in order to get them to eat them. But Carter told me she was a big girl now, and wanted a cheeseburger. She apparently believes that she has outgrown my ruse. *Sigh*, they grow up so fast.

When the food came, she immediately noticed something unexpected on her plate - a trio of pickle slices. Before this moment, I'm not sure if she'd ever seen a pickle, much less had one served to her. She poked it, prodded it, and said "Daddy, what's that?". I told her, and reassured her that it was in fact food. She then proceeded to lick each of the pickles in rotation, until they had all received at least 3 licks apiece. At which point she decided they were not to her liking (although why that took nine pickle-licks, I'll never know), and gave them no further attention.

And then, the climax of our meal - ice cream time. Our waitress brought us a tall strawberry shortcake sundae, and two spoons with handles nearly a foot long. Now mind you, while seated Carter's eyes only came about halfway up this glass. So she was reaching up above her head, with a very long, unwieldy spoon, and digging around in a glass she couldn't see into. So by the completion of dessert she was strawberried from fingertips to elbow. But damn, was she happy.

By the time we got home, we were both pretty beat from our long day out. She requested an episode of Dora the Explorer, and I obliged. I lay down on the couch, face up, and figured I would take a quick "break" while she watched her show. Within seconds, she climbed up onto me, and lay down on my chest. She and I used to do this when she was an infant, and I loved it, but once she hit about three months old she wouldn't do it anymore. But this day she stayed that way with me until Mommy came home, and the garage door opener woke us both up.

It was probably about the best day I have had with Carter in my entire life. It's good to be a daddy.