Basement Entertainment

February 27, 2015 by Adam in Adam's Projects

I continue to fiddle with the basement setup, trying to move it from a "little kids run around and play with toys" place into a "bigger kids hang out and interact".  I rearranged the couches and moved our old big t.v. downstairs.  The picture quality isn't the best, but apparently it works for watching Batman and Barbie, which the little kids did all day long when they were sick.  I've got the Wii hooked up to it - it's not reading disks, but it can stream Netflix just fine.

Emma is a regular user of the treadmill, which used to have an old laptop for entertainment.  Netflix was too choppy and driving me a little crazy.  I mounted a small but decent t.v. to the wall and hooked up Duncan's old computer to both that screen and the big t.v. It's complicated, but seems to work pretty well.

Next up is an attempt to fix one of our two broken Wiis.  I bought a special screwdriver to open it.  Hopefully I can clean it out and make it work.  If not, I can try replacing and CD player and getting it to read disks again.

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Mocha Friday

February 27, 2015 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work, and Duncan, Berry, and Emma went off to school.  Sam, however, reported he was worse, so I gave him some painkillers and told him to stay in bed.  Hopefully this is the last of the winter illnesses. 

I worked from home for the last couple days, mostly to spare my coworkers from my sniffling.  Duncan stayed home from school with me, the first day watching endless Mad tv, and the second was spent writing a lengthy story on the chromebook.

I took Emma to get the last of her HPV shots.  I told her we were going to get "candy," but somehow she didn't believe me.  She was happy to hear that she's done with shots for the next five years.

Sam's been playing Pathfinder with friends a couple afternoons after school, and he was going to hang out at a friend's house after school today.  The latter may be postponed since he's sick, but it's nice to see him doing normal teenager things.  So much is done online these days.

Duncan and Berry have their Mardi Gras party tonight.  We decided to send them there with a babysitter, and Joanna and I will go off on a hot date.   Should be fun.

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Mask of the Red Death

February 25, 2015 by Adam in Family

Okay, it's not quite so bad, but an awful lot of us seem to be sick today.  Berry's mostly better after a night of throwing up and a couple days of rest.  Duncan threw up last night and has been draggy today.  I've been sniffling and told to work from home by Joanna.  Joanna's been getting migraines.  Sam's been a little tired and sniffly.  The weather may be warm and sunny, but I think we've got one more wave of winter illness to get through.

Otherwise, life seems to generally be doing okay.  Berry made me a "Love you" popup card with a frog.  Duncan and Berry watched alternating Batman and Barbie on the downstairs t.v.  Joanna's almost done editing her book for the first time, which will be followed by a second editing pass.  Sam's making a video game in Excel. 

I played a nifty choose-your-own-adventure-with-time-rewind game called Life is Strange last night, which was entertaining.  It's set in an imaginary Oregon town, with occasional Twin Peaks references.  Good times.

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Back to Work

February 23, 2015 by Adam in Family

Poor Berry spent the night throwing up, with poor Joanna taking care of her.  Berry doesn't have a fever, but she's generated a lot of laundry.  We even tossed in her bear this morning.

Otherwise, the weekend was generally good.  Joanna was off and about much of the weekend - Friday night she came back from her writer's conference, Saturday she and the little kids went to a chess competition, and Sunday she did a bunch of music stuff at church.  The kids and I had pizza and Mythbuster's Friday night, after I'd scooped them up from school.  Saturday morning Emma and I hung out together, and later I went for a walk with Sam and Cody before dropping him off for a dog watching evening at his mom's.  Duncan had a sleepover Saturday night.  Honoka made cookies all day Sunday.  Berry and Flynn played a bunch throughout the day.  Emma had her friend Ella over Sunday and had a good time.

Here and there I did little projects with the kids.  Sunday morning the girls played with magnets and iron filings.  Later Berry geared up and melted pewter, pouring it into skeleton molds she later painted.

Now I'm back to work, doing weird salary calculations.  Never a dull moment.

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Mocha Friday

February 20, 2015 by Adam in Family

I got the kids off to school this morning, as Joanna headed to Portland for a writer's conference.  It's been a pretty typical week.  Honoka played at a pep rally. Sam went to PT and his knee keeps improving.  Emma is chatty and funny and hopes to have a friend over this weekend.  I think we'll do pizza and Mythbusters tonight as Duncan and Sam are off Saturday night.

Spring Comes Early

February 17, 2015 by Adam in Family

I don't know what crazy thing was happening this weekend, but we were running around in the middle of the day with t-shirts, basking in the sun.  Flowers are blooming and I think I need to mow the lawn soon.  Winter seems a distant memory.

Sunday started with waffles and a mocha, as any good day should.  I rearranged the basement maniacally. Honoka finally came down with a sore throat and slept most of the day.  Joanna and Duncan went off doing assorted things.  I took Sam, Emma, and Berry out to the path near the river next to my old house.  I had envisioned going on a nice long walk, but instead Sam and Berry vanished into the shrubbery and found an abandoned homeless camp they thought was awesome.  We explored the strange dirt mounds, wandering further across graffiti covered concrete slabs.  It was like some sort of urban enchanted forest. 

After our return, Sam and I played more EU4 - France and Scotland teaming up to take over the world.  Berry and Emma broke out the Littlest Pet Shop figures, with Emma making some sort of weird scene involving protest signs and castles. 

I had Monday off as well, which was yet another lovely warm day.  Joanna did taxes non-stop, which paid off with a nice little return.  I took Sam and Emma into the newly rearranged basement to play Space Team on our phones and tablets.  Mostly it involved a lot of amused yelling.  I took Sam, Emma, and Berry again, this time to the park to play Frisbee and run around.

Now I'm back at work, writing code and taking care of unruly computers.  At least the week will be short.

Valentine's Day

February 15, 2015 by Adam in Family

It's only Sunday morning, yet it feels like we've had a weekend full of activities.

Friday night I dropped Honoka off at a sleepover and Sam was staying at his mom's, so it was a little quieter than usual.

Valentine's Day began with a little visit with Emma, followed by getting all my presents and breakfast ready.  Joanna had prepped some monkey bread and scones, so I added eggs, bacon, veggie sausage, and a mocha to that.  The horde descended on the table and gobbled it up.  Next up was the little kids going to chess while I took Emma to the library.  We returned with our fines paid off and a load of treasured books for our perusal.  After a brief lull for lunch, Honoka returned and we all got ready for the Asian Celebration.

The little kids dragged Joanna between the art room and the Pokemon-themed booths.  We watched the Taiko drums, visited with Yayoe, and wandered the shops.  Honoka was wearing a traditional summer kimono, so she got quite a few complements.  I think the grownups and older kids were getting worn out, so after getting our photos taken with the snake, we headed home.

Sam was there when we returned.  We all ate pizza and watched Mythbusters, as is our way.  I took Honoka to her next event - a school dance held on the U of O campus.  Sam roped me into playing EU4 some more, me as France and Sam as Scotland. Joanna seemed perturbed that we teamed up to invade England.  We stopped at eleven so I could fetch Honoka, and then I collapsed from exhaustion.

Birth Plan [Updated]

February 13, 2015 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

One thing I realized after agonizing over my birth plan was what I missed entirely because I'd never been in labor before. Often birth plans are templates on the internet, and thus so bland or broad that a medical team wouldn't be able to remember or identify a woman's unique desires for labor. 

These are mine, updated after the fact to reflect what I should have handed to the midwives and nurses.

Sadie Miller and Gregory Caswell’s Birth Plan

First, thank you so much for being a part of what will certainly be a life-changing experience for us! We chose the Midwives at Mount Auburn because we don't have to ask you to change routines to get infrequent vaginal exams, skin-to-skin contact after delivery, delayed cord-clamping, and all of that good evidence-based stuff.

We think you're pros, and we're going to do our best to do you proud.

Pain Relief and Induction

  • We've prepared guided relaxation scripts, practiced massage, and learned alternative laboring positions. That's because, despite problems with an old tailbone injury and pubic symphysis pain, Sadie would like to do this without medication. Please don’t offer unless Sadie asks.
  • Don’t worry, the labor support team is ready to apply fierce amounts of pressure and count out every contraction for twelve hours. You basically get a night off.
  • If things are taking longer than expected, we're happy to go home before moving on to the hard stuff.
  • Sadie can get easily overwhelmed, so we’ll try a darkened, quiet space first if labor is stalled.
  • Thanks for offering an alternative to an IV for fluids and anti-nausea medication, even if trying to drink two quarts of liquid in ice chip form sounds ridiculous. It makes getting an IV feel like a choice.

Second Stage Labor

  • If a room with a birthing tub is available, we'll take it!
  • We're also excited to try the birthing ball, squatting bar, and stool to coax this baby into position.
  • Sadie can't see a damn thing and would like to keep her contacts or glasses on unless she’s unconscious.


  • In addition to her desire to have an unmedicated birth, Sadie would like her perineum treated like a prize race horse - hot compresses, massage, oil, and guided gentle pushing are all welcome.
  • We'll try any position that feels right, and have practiced squatting, hands-and-knees, and side lying positions.
  • Although my mother will be desperate to hear about your extended family in Oregon, please look at the woman who is literally pooping from exertion on the bed in front of you and take the chit-chat outside.
  • If, during the final push, you notice that Sadie’s labor support team is staring silently at her body as it turns intermittently beet red and a clammy yellow, please ask Sadie to nod when a contraction is coming on. Then unleash the varsity cheerleader.
  • If a cesarean is necessary, please make it as much like a regular birth as you can with your hands inside Sadie's abdomen. Sadie would like to hold and nurse the baby and have that miserable catheter and IV removed as quickly as possible.

Newborn Procedures

  • Please take care of routine drops and pokes after Sadie and baby have some bonding time.
  • Sadie plans to breastfeed exclusively, and is looking forward to meeting the lactation consultants four times a day.
  • Please do not circumcise the baby until he's 14 and ready to part with his foreskin on his own terms.
  • If the baby needs special attention away from Sadie, please let Greg stay with him.
  • We welcome all other routine tests and immunizations.
  • Sadie would like to pre-order the mac and cheese for after delivery.

Valentine's Day Eve

February 13, 2015 by Adam in Family

The children assured me that it was Valentine's Day Eve today.  Duncan and Berry were wearing fancy dresses in preparation for various parties.  Honoka was working hard on making cookies, and has a party tonight and a formal dance this weekend too.  Joanna has her little Valentine's Day things ready to go, though I have some presents to wrap still.

The end of the week has generally gone well.  Honoka was sick one night, but otherwise okay.  Joanna and I went out for a date night on Wednesday, eating at a Taste of India and stopping at the game store afterward.  Emma arrived last night, immediately snatched up by Sam for playing educational Russian roulette.  The loser had to name fifty countries, which ended up being so challenging that even Joanna had to give it a try.  Sam roped me into playing EU4, with me as Muscovy and Sam as Lithuania.  After dinner the two of us made an ice cream run to Safeway for ice cream.  It was a good day.

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day and the Asian Celebration.  Duncan and Berry have chess class too.  Somewhere in there we'll do pizza and Mythbusters and sip on Joanna's home brewed cider.

I'll spend the rest of today writing code and trying to figure out how to pay the doctors.  Despite how much I enjoy my nerdy job, I do look forward to the three day weekend.

Wednesday Update

February 11, 2015 by Adam in Family

It's been an up-and-down week.  I got pretty sick Monday afternoon and went home to sleep.  Joanna was very nice to me and took care of the critters while I stumbled about.  Tuesday I mostly improved, but stayed home from work to spare my coworkers.

I took Sam to the physical therapist and set up some future appointments for him.  His knee is improving, but still painful.  I think it'll take several months of physical therapy to build things back up.  He needs some more knee strength to prevent it in the future.

Joanna submitted some greeting card copy and got a response, which was fairly amusing.  They're doing some kind of market review and potentially could result in a few hundred dollars for her efforts.  It would be funny if she ended up supplementing her incoming via greeting cards.

We have a hot date tonight.  Not sure where we're going.

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