A Merry Christmas Was Had By All

December 28, 2011 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work, the kids at Jamie's for a couple days.  Joanna and I are going out to listen to music and eat dinner, and otherwise have a quiet evening.  We've been getting a lot of post-engagement congratulations.  Joanna's dad even sent a note that it was about time I made an honest woman of her.  Good times.

The trip back from San Francisco was fairly uneventful.  We hung about our B&B until late morning, then wandered over to Sam's Diner near civic stadium.  The blueberry pancakes were simple but good, my last real meal of the day.  Next was the BART to the airport, and waiting about until our flight to Portland.  We drove back, collapsing Christmas Eve with cereal and bed.

Christmas morning was very quiet, with no kids in the house and Joanna sleeping in.  I wrapped presents, put on Christmas music, and tidied up.  Joanna and I made ourselves a leisurely breakfast and the kids arrived a little after noon.  We opened presents and began preparations for the family dinner.  Later that night we'd donned paper crowns and were digging into the massive turkey Joanna baked (well, sweet potatoes and fresh dinner rolls for me).

After I got Emma to bed with plenty of snuggles, Joanna, Sam, and I watched the Doctor Who Christmas special and went to bed.

The next couple days were leisurely and relaxing.  Sam still has a bad cough, and we kept him on all his assorted medications.  Emma and I did a brief bike riding lesson on Monday.  We played each of our new board games.  Sam and I played a bunch of video games with Matt and Josh.  There was lots of relaxing and simply enjoying the time together.  Last night Emma and I had a daddy dinner date at PF Changs, which she thoroughly enjoyed.

And I finally put together a movie from San Francisco.  There's no video of the proposal, but it gives a pretty good sense of the places we wandered around to.

We're off!

December 27, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

We're off to the airport in an hour.  Hanni flies out at noon, and we don't leave until 3pm, so we'll likely hang out in ABQ for awhile.

We'll see you all soon!!!!!

and to all a good night!

December 25, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Merry Christmas all!

We are in the post present lull.  All of us are in our new clothes, and playing with our new toys. 
We can't wait to see you all soon!

Adventure Time!

December 24, 2011 by Adam in Family

I'm posting from a new bed in a new room down the hall from our old one. The heater died in the rose-themed room, so we asked to be moved and ended up in a rainforest-themed room.  There are no windows, but instead the walls are covered in a photorealistic forest wallpaper.  Joanna has slipped into my pirate boxers and donned long nautical socks from 826 Valencia, the pirate store.  She's finished her milk steamer and playing her train game on Facebook.  I got her beverage from the downstairs cafe while regaling the young women with tales of rings and proposals, getting a simultaneous "awww" out of them.  Good times.  The best part of the new room is that it's nearly silent, the street life of Haight a distant memory.

We're completely spent for the day, having traveled nearly everywhere across San Francisco.  The day began a little late, as we were both tired from our night at the show.  I had a tasty egg sandwich with lots of coffee in the cafe, and we planned out the day on the purple netbook.

The goddess of the muni favored us, and we found ourselves traveling towards Fisherman's Wharf.  We got out in the financial district and found a Walgreens to procure bandages for Joanna's ankle, which was sore from walking.  We meandered through markets, picking up a hat to keep Joanna's noggin warm, and found ourselves in the ferry terminal.  There was Christmas music and a view of Alcatraz.  Joanna found a gluten-free pastry store, and I had my mocha for the day.

Eventually we boarded a trolley and moved towards Pier 39.  It was the consummate tourist trap, and we shopped and ate our way through.  Pushing onward, we headed to the Musee Mechanique, where Joanna impressed me with her Ms Pacman skills.  I marveled at the old mechanical amusement park machines, and some of the relatively modern devices like Pong.

Our journey continued at Ghirardelli Square, getting free samples thrust on us, and we boarded a bus to the Castro district.  Our first stop was Paxton gate, where we marveled at the odd wonders, then we meandered into 826 Valencia's pirate store.  At this point we were exhausted, so we crashed on the bus to the hotel, went out for sushi, and have resolved to do nothing of importance for the rest of the night.

Accidental Adventures

December 23, 2011 by Adam in Family

We had a range of assorted adventures yesterday.  Our first night sleeping in the middle of San Francisco was a little noisy, as Haight and Ashbury has quite the night life.  Both nights someone has decided to scream as loud as possible at four in the morning.

Breakfast was low-key in the cafe downstairs, oatmeal with bottomless coffee and tea.  The shops hadn't opened up, but we hit the post office to send out post cards, and walked over to Golden Gate park to the Conservatory of Flowers.  It was an ornate building of steel and glass, built nearly a hundred years ago.  They had rooms holding tropical trees, cool high-elevation orchids, aquatic plants, and finally a room with a train set and dozens of kids.  At the turn of the last century, there used to be an amusement park called Playland nearby, and they had magic mirrors, fortune telling machines, and a bumper car on display.

We headed off to catch the muni to the Golden Gate Bridge.  I kept getting stopped by tourists to take their picture, one of the consequences of my honest face.  We walked a third of the way and turned back, as it was quite windy and cold.  The plan was to return to the hotel and relax, but fate intervened.

We hopped on a bus that ended up going a completely different direction.  It stopped at Fort Mason and the bus driver announced "end of the line," hopped out, and drove away in a car.  We sat there for a little while, then went out to explore.  Our phones directed us to a restaurant called Greens, which ended up being exceptionally good.  We took a picture and thanked Yayoe for buying it for us (she gave us a $50 bill for the trip).  Afterward, we wandered into a store for the Long Now, which plans to build a massive, mechanical 10,000 clock off in the Texas mountains.  It seemed uniquely San Francisco.

We did manage to make it back to the hotel, where we took it easy for a couple hours before heading out for the night.  We got to the Orpheum in plenty of time, had Thai food for dinner, visited the San Francisco library and Starbucks, then headed in to watch Bring It On.

Going to see a show seemed the thing to do, and as it was a little expensive, I was worried it wouldn't live up to expectations.  I was wrong.  It was over-the-top, the most physical musical I've ever seen.  There were moving giant screens, light shows, hysterically funny dialog, and throwing cheerleaders twenty feet into the air.  It had underdogs, comically evil villains, and references to The Grateful Dead.  It was quite the show.

We made it back to our quirky B&B, quiet at eleven o'clock, and went straight to bed.

The Proposal

December 22, 2011 by Adam in Family

It was a close call.

We took Colette's ring to Goldworks months ago, thinking it was going to be a straightforward thing.  The plan was to use Colette's diamond in a new engagement ring.  I wanted Joanna involved with the ring planning, as she was stuck wearing it forever.  The actual proposal time and place remained a mystery to her.

Unfortunately that fell apart when they lost the ring, time passed, and they miraculously found it a couple weeks ago.  We immediately went to Skeie's, found a ring we liked, made some changes to it, and off went the stone to Texas to make a new ring.  It arrived the day before we left, and I quietly slipped away from work to pick it up.

We were all ready to go on our grand trip to San Francisco yesterday, when the airline canceled the flight.  Fortunately Joanna worked her magic and we ended up back at the Red Victorian after dinner.  We watched a Glee episode, and I realized I still had an hour to go before the moment of winter solstice.  Fortunately it was quite easy to talk about mushy things for that time, each of us getting a little teary eyed.

Though she was getting suspicious about my continuous checking of the clock, and there were plenty of jokes about the serenading clowns that were about to arrive, I managed to make it to the appointed alignment of the planets, got down on one knee, and popped the question.

We had so much fun that we may have to go around San Francisco to various landmarks, proposing each time.

The Red Victorian

December 22, 2011 by Adam in Family

We made it to the Red Victorian in San Francisco.  There's a bustling street life outside our window.  We're unpacking, charging phones, and getting ready to go out to dinner.

It's been quite the exciting day, and Joanna has repeatedly risen to the occasion.  We got up early, fed Duncan and Berry crepes and bacon, then Kevin came to pick them up for their adventure.  Sam woke up, still fairly sick, and we got ready for our trip.

Shortly before leaving, we got an automated cal that our flight had been canceled and we couldn't leave until tomorrow.  I called, they did nothing for me, and then Joanna called.  Clearly she has more chutzpa than I, as she was able to find a flight from Portland that got us there in a reasonable amount of time.  So we fed Sam, bid him farewell, and headed to Portland.  It was a little tense, but we got there with enough time, and soon we were relaxing on a flight to California.

Getting to the hotel was exciting, but we managed to take the Bart and Muni, only having to walk a few blocks.  The Red Victorian was quiet inside, were two laid-back desk people informed us of the bottomless coffee and tea, and pointed us in the direction of the room.  Up two dark stairs, we settled in, ready to begin our San Francisco adventure.

Christmas #1

December 19, 2011 by Adam in Family

We had a full weekend with all the kids, starting Friday night and running non-stop until this morning.  I can always tell when we have a full house, based on the number of dishwasher loads per day.

Our first Christmas was Saturday morning.  Duncan was really excited to open things, but I made him wait until everyone was up.  I sipped my mocha, as presents were passed out.  My mom arrived with stockings for Berry and Duncan.  The amount of goodies was fairly staggering.  Emma loved her Minecraft sword in all its foam pixely glory.  Duncan and Berry instantly glued themselves to their Nintendo DSes.

The rest of the day was fairly low-key, especially as Sam and Emma started getting sick.  Emma and I went to the library.  Sam, Joanna, and I played Settlers of Catan.  I went to the grocery store to stock the larder.  The day wrapped up with pizza and Mythbusters.

Sunday was equally quiet.  After a hearty breakfast of crepes and sausages, Joanna took Berry and Duncan to church.  Duncan was a wise man and Berry an angel in their performance.  Joanna lit candles.  I took the kids for a walk to Metropol, with a treat at the end.  Sam, Emma, and I played assorted games - Munchkin, The Last Day on Earth, and Trine 2.  Sam played chess with Duncan, who was quite good according to Sam.  I finally got around to installing Sam's new hard drive, which he loaded up with games.

Sam and Emma were both getting increasingly sicker as the day went on.  After coordinating with Jamie, it sounds like Sam's staying at my house for the next few days, and Jamie and Emma are going to the beach.

The next few days should be fairly low-key.  Joanna's taking Berry and Duncan to have dinner with Kevin Tuesday night.  Hopefully it makes the transition easier.  I need to make sure Joanna and I have our trip plans all together.  I'm starting to get excited to have "adult time", as Berry called it this morning.

Life's busy, but fun.

Pre-Christmas Mocha

December 16, 2011 by Adam in Family

I finished my mocha on this relatively quiet Friday at work.  I've gotten all my critical work done, and now I'm down to the "nice to do" list.  The holidays tend to be fairly subdued, as people are off and about.

Wednesday night Joanna and I went out to sushi and the bookstore, where I once again discovered just how much I like browsing books.  Yesterday was a whirlwind of activity, with Emma arriving for dinner, Duncan's playdate wandering off, and everyone but Sam going off to Berry's winter recital.  Berry did a great job singing, and had not a lick of nervousness.

Tonight is our "Family Christmas Eve" in preparation for Family Christmas tomorrow.  The kids will be exchanging gifts with each other and everyone will be able to open up a little something. 

I'm getting excited for our upcoming trip to San Francisco, trying to come up with lists of things to do and places to go.  I doubt we'll get to it all, but we'll have fun trying.

Christmas Trees and Sugar Cookies

December 13, 2011 by Adam in Family

I put together a little video from the weekend activities.

Sam had a touch of nausea yesterday and I picked him up from school.  He slept all day, perked up by dinner time, and was quite cheerful this morning.

What is Lost is Sometimes Found

December 12, 2011 by Adam in Family

The jewler just called.  Colette's ring has magically appeared, found in a catalog they never use.  We're off to pick it up this afternoon.

Christmas Preparations Complete

December 12, 2011 by Adam in Family

Since next weekend is our family Christmas, we had to get everything ready.  Presents were wrapped, trees were decorated, and cookies were baked.  All systems go.

Friday night we had a rousing game of Apples to Apples with the kids, but otherwise took it easy.  Saturday morning we picked up my mom and headed to her farm.  We picked out a tree, and proceeded to explore the woods.  It was admittedly quite magical, with light streaming in and mushrooms growing everywhere.  Joanna found a couple sleds that she scavenged.  Eventually we returned to cut down the tree and strap it to the roof as the kids sipped hot chocolate.

Returning home, we decorated while listening to Christmas music.  I ran off to the library and store, then returned to Joanna breaking out sugar cookies for painting.  As the day wrapped up, and kids got to bed, I finished folding clothes and Joanna continued knitting as we watched Doc Martin on Netflix.

Sunday morning was crepes and bacon, with french toast for Joanna and I.  Joanna went off with Berry and Duncan to a birthday party.  Emma and I made a terrarium in an ornament for the tree.  Sam arrived, and we all played Trine 2 for awhile, which was zany fun.  I helped Emma with her school presentation, and we were generally low-key for the rest of the day.  More cookies were frosted and presents were wrapped.

I had a good parenting moment with Sam and his poetry assignment.  He started off hating it, nearly storming out of the room.  I pulled him back in and somehow turned it into a lot of fun.  He had to write something to a Christmas tune and we settled on turning Frosty the Snowman into an Aquaman-themed poem, laughing all the way.

This morning we took kids to school and listened to Christmas music.  They were cute and funny and pleasant.  Life is good.

Mocha Friday

December 09, 2011 by Adam in Family

Joanna's off at some work-related networking thing this morning, so I hauled Berry, Emma, and Duncan to their respective schools, Christmas music playing the entire time. Everyone was in a cheerful mood, somewhat in contrast with a the cranky children of last night. I think I jinxed it by saying out loud that I hadn't had a chance to drink anyone's Tears of Suffering in ages.  Berry was up well past her bedtime, and I finally plopped her in bed around nine.  Duncan woke up a little after midnight.  Emma was up early around five thirty.  On the plus side, there were no wet beds (Berry explained that she "double peed" before bedtime).

Joanna and I had a hot date night on Wednesday, going to a work event at the old Sacred Heart Hospital (now University District). The sisters were there, as well as our CEO, Alan Yordy. It was surprisingly nostalgic for me, and I recognized a lot of people, due to being around for so many years. We snuck out early to get back to Jessica and the kids.

Sam has resolved to become a programmer, so I've begun teaching him the basics of how it all works. I came to realize that while I could make a game faster than him, that's not the point. It's far more rewarding to see him progress with a useable skill in any case.

I'm completely shocked that Christmas is coming at us so quickly.  Packages continue to arrive, though I'm down to one more thing to purchase.  Tomorrow we're getting a Christmas tree and next weekend is our family Christmas before Berry and Duncan go.  After that, we scatter to the winds - Berry and Duncan go to Rochester, Sam and Emma go to the beach and Portland with their mom, and Joanna and I take a trip to San Francisco.  It'll be wild and wacky until January, I suspect.

Mid-Week Update

December 07, 2011 by Adam in Family

I put together a quick video of the weekend - swimming, Emma reading Christmas stories to Berry and Duncan, and the arrival of the new gerbil.

The week so far has been uneventful.  The ring saga continues slowly, and continues to frustrate me.  Sam's new elective is painting, which he's okay with.  We've been planning our new video game, and had an informal meeting last night.

Tonight we're going to dinner and hob-nobbing with our CEO and five of the sisters.  I may have to wear a tie.

Busy Weekend

December 05, 2011 by Adam in Family

Our schedule was remarkably full this weekend, with only a few hours here and there for relaxation time.  Still, it was generally productive and things were crossed off lists.

Friday night Joanna and I went out to dinner and dancing.  We went to Willamalane's Dancin' By The River event.  We were the youngest couple there by far, we picked up a little waltzing, and laughed maniacally under the disco ball more than once.

Emma arrived Saturday morning and a hearty breakfast was put together for all.  We went to the library, and Joanna ran off to get her haircut while I made lunch for everyone.  Next was to Sheldon pool where we were nearly the only people there.  Emma, Joanna, and I all tried the diving board.  Duncan started to get more comfortable swimming around with a life jacket.

Emma and I brought out the Christmas lights and hung them up in the front yard.  She excitedly set up the reindeer that my mom got for us on sale last year.  After a short break, we went food shopping and restocked our larders for the week.

I picked up Sam late morning and took all the kids to a secret project for Joanna.  They had a decent time and I made crepes and sausages for lunch upon our return.  Joanna, Berry, and Duncan went off to get a new gerbil.  Strawberry returned and it turns out she's the alpha gerbil in the cage.  We put up more Christmas decorations and started to get ready for the family dinner.

Sam and I managed to get some gaming time in.  I played more Skyrim, and we played Dungeon Defenders with Matt and Josh.  I'm waiting to install Sam's hard drive.  It's difficult getting him off his computer long enough to do the install.

Eventually my family descended on the house.  We ate chili and talked about the latest in the Colette ring fiasco.  It sounds like it's unfortunately going to take awhile.

We got kids to bed, and dropped everyone off at school this morning.  Sam starts a new term today, and I'm eager to find out what his new classes are.

15+ Years

December 05, 2011 by Adam in Adam

Last Thursday we celebrated our department's longtimers.  I've been at PeaceHealth for over 15 years (16 later this month).  While it's had its up and downs, I generally love my job and continue to be amazed that they pay me to do it.  Glen, my manager, put together a little slide for me to show to the 300+ people in HID.  It's a good thing I'm comfortable in a tiara.

More snow and cold!

December 05, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

We had more snow last night, and Robbie and Isabell are enjoying a snow day today.  Now they're watching A Christmas Carol and playing with the dogs.

Sigh... I'm still trying to work.  Bah Humbug!

Here's the snow

December 03, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez


Good Morning!

December 03, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

We had snow this morning, and it looks like it will continue through the weekend.  Today we're heading down to Santa Fe and then to Ojo Caliente to soak in the hot springs and maybe get a massage.

We made hot chocolate and pancakes this morning, and now the neighbor puppy is over napping with Shiloh and Isabell. 

Mocha Friday

December 02, 2011 by Adam in Family

I finished with my mocha, its pleasant effervescence still bubbling through my veins.  All the kids made it to school, except for Sam who gets the day off.

The week has gone relatively well.  I was celebrated at work yesterday, along with a bunch of other people with employment milestones.  I've been hear for 15 years (16 in a couple weeks), so I got to stand up in front of people while they read my name.  The best part was taking some of the helium balloons home, which entertained all the kids after work.  Sam made neutrally bouyant Lego people and inhaled helium.  Emma, Berry, and Duncan carried them about.  A good time was had by all.

Joanna spoke with the jeweler where her mother's ring was lost.  Evidently the owner let go of the woman we were working with, as we were reporting different things had been lost compared to what she was saying.  Very strange.  In any case, I think we're waiting for the claims adjuster to contact us.  Poor Joanna continues to have bad stomach issues from all of this, as it's all very stressful.

Sam finished his last day of the term yesterday.  Since he was sick on Wednesday, he had to make up a couple tests, but he very responsibly took care of it.  He, Matt, Josh, and I celebrated by playing Terraria and having a great time.

We have lots of plans for this weekend - breaking out the Christmas lights, going to the library, and swimming.  There's also a lunchtime pizza and Mythbusters on Sunday, as we have the family dinner that night.  Tonight Joanna and I are going to try to go dancing.  Busy, busy.

They Say It's Your Birthday!

December 01, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy birthday Robbie!!!!  We had pancakes (and a few presents at breakfast), and I there will be more goodies tonight after an afternoon movie.  Life is good.

Bright Points

November 30, 2011 by Adam in Family

Yesterday while walking down the hall, hand in hand, Joanna and I were stopped by someone we didn't know.  She had to tell us that she thought we were incredibly cute and that she smiled every time she saw us.

Joanna is now officially a manager, after being temporarily in the position for over six months.  She was getting somewhat frustrated by how long it took.  Though at the absolute lowest point on the pay scale, it did mean a little raise, which was nice.

Sam was sick today, and I ended up taking a medicinal mocha for a headache.  His last day of the term is tomorrow, so he'll have a math quiz and fitness test to make up.  Poor boy.


November 29, 2011 by Adam in Family

I dug a shallow grave in the backyard in the dark of night.  Under the glow of the cell phone, Sam slipped the gerbil into the hole as I whispered a quick apology to Pear.  I covered her up, and went downstairs with Sam to watch The Walking Dead.

The backstory is a little confusing.  Evidently our babysitter Jenny had the gerbils out with Berry and Duncan.  It's possible they were held a little too tightly for too long.  When Jen realized one of them was dead, she ran in to talk to Sam and ask him what she was supposed to do.  Pear ended up in a box and a show was put on for the kids before they noticed.

I ended up breaking the news over dessert.  The kids took it well, discussing which one of them was holding it.  No blame was assigned, though I added a gentle reminder on the fragility of gerbils.  The consensus was that a new gerbil would be purchased and given the same name as the old one.

Wonderful, Wacky Thanksgiving

November 28, 2011 by Adam in Family

I've come to the conclusion that our life will never be uneventful. Most good, some bad, and with the occasionally weird tossed in to spice it up.

Thanksgiving at my mom's was good and only vaguely chaotic. There was food, chatting, and Sam getting loads of birthday money. Hanni baked a bunch of sticky buns which we've been slowly eating away.

Saturday was a huge breakfast of eggs, omelets, pancakes, waffles, and bacon. The birthday boy got his dish of choice, and everyone else as well. Jamie picked up Sam to go to lunch, and the rest of us went to the park where Emma got the last of the bike riding down pat. Sam's classmate Abigail showed up with Limpy the Guatemalan street dog. For some reason, that bizarre phrase stuck with me and I made a t.v. show intro song out of it. The day ended with pizza and Mythbusters.

Sunday was fairly low-key. Joanna, Berry, and Duncan went to church, while Sam, Emma, and I headed to the reservoir to ride bikes. We were out there for over an hour, having a surprisingly good time. We hung out after lunch for a bit, then went to Sacred Heart Hospital at Riverbend for the Santa photo. It was about an hour of waiting madness, but the kids were pretty good, and we picked up cupcakes for Emma's half-birthday party. She seemed to enjoy the music-playing shirt we got her, rocking out before bedtime.

The one really frustrating thing that happened this weekend is that the jewelers lost Colette's wedding ring. Joanna was sad and frustrated, and we're trying to figure out how to deal with it. It sounds like they're trying to make amends, but it's challenging trying to establish the value of everything. Fortunately it was appraised and insured back in 1985, so we have some estimate as to the size and worth. Still, it's not really replaceable in that it was something of Collette's that's forever gone.

I threw together a video of the last couple weekends, swimming, bike riding, birthdays, and such. We're a pretty silly bunch.

A lovely Thanksgiving

November 27, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

So we could accomodate everyone's schedules, we had Thanksgiving dinner on Friday. It was a real treat, with Bob and Anna bustling around; Anna made a tasty pumpkin-pear pie, and Deb sent a pumpkin pie over. Boy, always take up with men whose ex-wives are good cooks, and more than that, willing to share.

The kids were all there except Dez, who had already had one Thanksgiving with his Dad's family (Jenny had Shaun and his family over for Thanksgiving the day before.) and was 'gived out. I got to see him and Jenny at the Civil War game -the Springfield High football team gets paid to provide students as door checkers at the exit to the Beer Building. Jenny says his grades have improved radically.

As always, everyone was amazingly helpful. Hanni whipped up stuffed mushrooms, and everyone else lent a hand, so it was pretty easy. We had a nice long phone call from Seraph and Robbie, spending Thanksgiving in Arizona with Robbie's Dad and step-mom.

As always, even after this year of losing people to cancer (Besides Colette, two people I knew fairly well died of cancer this year) we have much to be thankful for.

Bike Rider

November 27, 2011 by Adam in Emma

Emma learned to ride her bike today.

At the beginning, she expressed an interest in hopping on Sam's old tricycle, but we somehow got all three younger kids down to the park.  Berry and Duncan put on their training-wheel enabled bikes and were off.  Emma took a bit more work.

Still, within five minutes, she was starting by herself and stopping by herself.  The in-between part of riding around had already been mastered, so she was golden.  I was very proud of her tenacity and she was very excited to have a new, grown-up skill under her belt.


November 27, 2011 by Adam in Sam

Sam officially turned thirteen today.  I asked him if he wanted to borrow a razor and have a beer.  Both were politely turned down.

His festivities began yesterday, getting a song and batch of sticky buns while at my mom's for Thanksgiving.  This morning he got his breakfast of choice (cheesy eggs on challa bread), and opened up all his presents.  Jamie showed up to bring him goodies and take him to lunch.  By afternoon, he was rolling in birthday cash and presents.

He was surprisingly generous in his wealthy state.  Steam was having a bunch of game deals, and he bought two 4-packs of games and gave them out to myself, Matt, and Josh.  We were all immensely appreciative.

I'm about to head to la Perla's to pick up his pizza of choice.  We will be eating that and watching Mythbusters.  I think the day has gone exactly as Sam wanted.

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

November 25, 2011 by Danica in Danica Miller

I hope everyone is having a grand celebration on what ever day you choose for doing it! Yesterday mother and I had dinner at the nursing home at noon after watching a bit of the Macy's parade. I got there too late for the Rockettes as it turns out - poo... Later in the day I got to celebrate with the Brinkmans and Emma's large family. Delicious gourmet fair and a real treat.

I did get some good photos of mother yesterday, which I thought I'd share. The closeup portrait is one of the best I've taken in a while, I think. Love to all!

Quiet Thanksgiving

November 25, 2011 by Adam in Family

We had a pretty quiet Thanksgiving, as we're really celebrating it today.  I think I had a vegetarian chick patty as my main dish.  Still, it's all about the company.

Sam was at his mom's house, and Jamie and Emma went off to Bend yesterday morning.  I picked up Sam in the afternoon and Emma should arrive today for my mom's Thanksgiving bash.

Berry's on day two of a bed wetting streak.  It's funny how it seems to be fine for months, and then it pops up again.  The good news is that we've got the routine down.  She tells me the problem, grabs clothes, runs to the bathroom to pee and change.  By the time she returns, I've stripped the bed and put on a new mattress cover and fitted sheet.  After tucking her in, she gets to sleep in a minute.  I feel like the pit crew at the Indy 500.

We were generally lazy yesterday, but snuck outside to rake leaves.  Duncan had this desire to jump in a leaf pile, so we put one together for him and he spent nearly an hour jumping into it over and over.  He evidently had some game involving Pokeman going on.  We eventually inticed him back.

I made bananna bread, and Joanna made pumpkin pie.  We should be all ready for the big day in a few hours.

Since it's our anniversary, Joanna and I exchanged presents at the breakfast table.  The kids munched on eggs and sausages.  I played with my new razor, and Joanna assembled her Kindle cover and book light.

It's also Sam's final day of being a tween.  I'm pretty sure that as the day progresses, he'll become increasingly hairy and his voice will drop a couple octaves.

Hi, y'all, and Happy Thanksgiving!

November 23, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

Delightful news, Morgan had her baby, a little girl named Rose. Sadie called, weeping happily into her cell phone. So lots to be thankful for this year.

Adam, I would love to feed you dinner tomorrow and Friday, but I think everyone else is showing up at 2 on Friday, and I hope you guys will too. Adam, I'm thinking we're doing a little family birthday for Sam on Friday? This will be a fun Thanksgiving, with Aric, Charlotte and Anna. Well, Bob's up swearing at the fax machine...we need a butler who understands electronics. Love to all, Mom

Twas The Night Before Thanksgiving

November 23, 2011 by Adam in Family

It's been the usual weird and wacky week so far.  I let myself have a mocha this morning, as it's practially Friday anyway.

Sam's been practicing his speech all week.  I've learned more about Teddy Roosevelt's suffering than ever before.  He also keeps trying to retake a Fitness test, attaching various reminders to himself so he doesn't forget.  This morning it was tape on his finger.  Hopefully that'll do the trick.

Duncan had pajama day at school yesterday, but he had an accident and had to quickly throw his favorite pajamas into the wash first thing in the morning.  He ran around in his underpants until we made him put on a bath robe, and fortunately managed to get him in clean pjs and off to school.

Berry has been fairly cheerful, always surprising us with wild outfits and makeup when we return home from work.  Following in her brother's footsteps, she made a texture pack for Minecraft where everything looked bright pink.

I called up Emma last night and wished her a good Thanksgiving.  She and Jamie are going to Bend tomorrow, though I think Sam will be staying with us.  I suspect tomorrow will be pretty low-key, with some cooking for tomorrow and catching up on house projects.

We also had a difficult sit-down with our sitter Jenny, telling her we were going to switch back to Jessica for after-school care.  It was hard, as we like Jenny and the kids adore her.  Jessica's schedule just opened up and we really like the consistency of keeping her throughout the year.

I'm really looking forward to the next few days, hanging about the house and being lazy.  Rumor has it my mom will feed us tomorrow, and then we've got those assorted birthdays coming up.  I guess I need to wrap some of those mysterious UPS boxes that keep arriving.

Heading Out

November 23, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Early Thanksgiving wishes to everyone, and Happy Birthday wishes to Sam!  We're heading out to the airport soon, and will be in Arizona until Sunday. 

Love to you all!

Pre-Thanksgiving Weekend

November 21, 2011 by Adam in Family

The weekend has come and gone.  On one hand, it was rather pleasant and relaxing, while at the same time we ended up getting a ton of work done.  I think we did somewhere between six and eight loads of laundry, and usually three loads of dishes per day.

Friday night we pondered going to a play at Emma's school, but she wasn't interested and everyone felt pretty worn out.  We instead had stir-fry and a quiet evening.  The next morning Joanna slept in until nine, which is unusual even for her.  I fed the kids a hearty breakfast with bacon by the time she arrived.  Eventually we got organized and headed to the bank and a farmer's market to get pulled pork and other goodies.

For the afternoon, we attempted to go swimming, but Sheldon was closed and apologetically gave us free swim coupons.  Eventually we made it to Willamalane and had a surprisingly good time. 

Sunday involved another big breakfast, including sauted chantarelle mushrooms on eggs.  Joanna went to church and I took the younger kids off to the library, scooping up Sam on the way back.  He had a bunch of homework, so we worked on his reading and speech.  Joanna did her hair and worked on Christmas presents.  Emma, Duncan, and I played a bunch of games together.  Dinner was pizza and Mythbusters, as usual.

This morning we got the kids off to school, and I reminded Sam about his health class test he needs to make up.  He's doing pretty good about taking care of these things, though cutting it a little close for my comfort.

The week ahead is a little odd, with the short week and the kids going off to Bend with Jamie this Wednesday.  They'll magically appear Friday afternoon for a Thanksgiving here, Sam's birthday on Saturday, and Emma's half birthday on Sunday.  Busy, busy.

New Sweater Mocha Friday

November 18, 2011 by Adam in Family

Emma tried on Joanna's sweater yesterday and it fit wonderfully.  The girl has it on for school today, which is a good thing as it's somewhat chilly (there were a few flakes of snow in with the rain this morning).  Joanna's been working away at the thing for a month or two, unraveling big sections when there was a problem.  It's neat to see it finally finished.

Sam's been working away at homework, finishing his reading and getting ready for his Teddy Roosevelt speech on Monday.  He also entertained Emma and I with his Skyrim antics.  He took off all his armor and gear in front of some boy in game, who exclaimed "Naked! Naked! Naked!" and ran off.

Berry's had a bit of a hard week for some reason.  She's been up every night for the last four days.  I went downstairs to cries of "mama!", and asked her if she needed anything.  She exclaimed "I want mama!" and made kicking motions when I tried to lay down next to her.  I opted to lie down at the foot of her bed for a few minutes, and she immediately conked out.  This was after a rough evening of periodic screaming.  I kept taking her outside and breaking out my dad's dentist voice, calmly explaining how she needed to calm down/brush teeth/go to sleep.  Ah, the joys of parenting four year-olds.

We have a relatively quiet weekend coming up.  I'm hoping we get to a farmer's market and swimming pool tomorrow.  Tonight is a date night with the kids, and the plan is to go to Emma's school to watch the play.  Good times.


November 17, 2011 by Adam in Adam's Games

Sam's been playing Skyrim for almost a week now, though I only got it a couple days ago. I haven't been able to play all that much due to life's responsibilites, but what I've done so far feels pretty special. I'm also having a strange compulsion to gather up every potion ingredient I can find and eat it to raise my alchemy skill. I'm busy eating animal parts and weird plants all along my journeys.

I finished Bastion last weekend, which was a wonderful, artistic game with an interesting story. It was simple in some respects, a standard "fight the monster and get the stuff" game, but the narration was constant throughout and kept things interesting.

Finally, Minecraft goes live tomorrow, despite a couple years of playing. I'm strangely excited to get back to it and explore the Nether for strongholds. You can "win" the game now, and I'm eager to find the things necessary to do so.

Mid-Week Date Night

November 17, 2011 by Adam in Family

It's Thursday, and I'm probably taking up all the juicy news events of the week so tomorrow's Mocha Friday post will be dull. Ah, well.

The end of the term is sneaking up on Sam, and he's got a fair amount of homework for this weekend. There's a speech on Monday, and a book to finish. Finally, he has some athletic tests to make up from weeks ago. I'm working hard to guide him through all the miscellaneous things that have to get done.

Berry's been up a lot this last week, three days straight. Joanna's getting a little frazzled around the edges. We went out last night, to Bepe and Gianna's and then over to the art museum on campus. There was a depressing and political exhibit from a Chinese dissident. We moved on to the "birds and flowers" exhibit which was only slightly more uplifting. Finally we made our way to the asian pieces, which were as wonderful as always.

Emma comes home today, which I'm very excited about.

taking requests

November 16, 2011 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

While Gregory thinks its a sin to even mention the C-word before Thanksgiving, I'm taking orders for my semi-annual Christmas mixtape, featuring Leadbelly, the Weepies, Sufjan Stevens, Eartha Kitt, Elvis Presley, the Vince Guaraldi Trio, Frank Sinatra, and more. Let me know if you'd like one.

Another Weekend, Come and Gone

November 15, 2011 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work after a three-day weekend. It was surprisingly pleasant and occasionally productive, though I tried hard to hang out and relax.

I spent most of Friday with the kids, taking the day off work so we could spend time together as they were off of school. I let Joanna sleep in and made a hearty breakfast for everyone. Sam was playing Skyrim and loving it, so he spent much of the day doing just that. He did take a break for a family Apples to Apples game. Emma and I went outside a fair amount, with her riding her tricycle around the block and I ended up doing some gardening. Jamie picked them up at three, and I did the weekly shopping trip, which was very quiet without Emma. Joanna and I went out on our date night, having a delicious treat at Poppi's Anatoilia.

I scooped up Emma on Saturday, and all three kids were exceptionally pleasant. Emma cheerfully played with the younger kids in the basement for much of the morning. Emma showed off my old insect collection from graduate school, and we all decided to make potions around the table. Emma, Berry, and I played with a ball and bat, Berry cheerfully fetching it when it went away. We also cleaned out the chicken coop and put up new Christmas lights for the driveway.

I picked up Sam after another great breakfast of crepes, sausages, whip cream, waffles, blueberries, and mocha. He was still playing Skyrim, but he managed some reading time for class and some hang out time with the rest of us. Emma rode around outside some more, we all played a bit of Minecraft, people went to parties, and the house we mostly cleaned up. The night wrapped up with pizza and Rough Science.

All is well.

Thank you!

November 14, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Thanks everyone for all the birthday cards and good wishes!  It was a long weekend (Isa had a 1/2 day on Thursday, and both Isa and Robbie had Friday off) full of relaxing family time. 

We've been on a Harry Potter marathon finishing up the seventh movie last night.  Now we get to watch the final movie tonight - after homework and committee meetings!

Emma as a 50s Housewife

November 13, 2011 by Adam in Emma

For some reason, Emma struck me as a 50s housewife this morning.  She'd gotten all prettied up with makeup and Joanna helped curl her hair.  Emma has a love for Chanterelle mushrooms, so she was chopping them up and sautéing them with garlic and butter and olive oil.  It was delicious.

Emma's been great today.  She played with Duncan and Berry.  We played baseball in the backyard, with Berry as our catcher.  During the library run, she stocked up on books like The Teen's Guide to World Domination and The Teen's Guide to Helping Our Oceans, Rivers, and Other Aquatic Things.  Emma, who is watching over my shoulder, tells me I should add The Girl's Guide to Style.

You can add "chicken wrangling" to her list of skills.  She had this giant brussle-sprout stem that she was waving around, trying to get the chickens to behave.  It was a sight to behold.

Ben and Emma are Engaged!

November 12, 2011 by Danica in Danica Miller

No need to whip out your calendars as there is no wedding date selected yet. But I just wanted everyone to know the exciting news!

Ben, romantic that he is, decided he was going to have a good friend who's a jeweler make a ring (special beacuse Ben had studied with this guy while in middle school). He kept everything a surprise until he popped the question on Halloween while they were hiking in the Bristol Hills in the FingerLakes on a glorious fall day. It's been reported that Emma was so surprised she was speechless! Fortunately she recovered enough to say yes! Ben was quite pleased with himself that all went according to plan.

Of course I'm thrilled! When they stopped by to show me the ring, I had to take lots of photos.

According to Ben the ring shows the Hudson Valley view of the Catskill mountains and the sky above, obviously very symbolic to them because this all started on the Bard College campus, which sits overlooking the Hudson. I, however, think it could represent any of the many mountains they've climbed together - from the Adirondacks to the Rockies in CO or those in Ecuador with many more to come I’m sure!

Happy Birthday, Seraph

November 10, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

Hi, beautiful girl. Have a wonderful day with your fam! Love, Mom

Mocha Thursday

November 10, 2011 by Adam in Family

I had a mocha today, so I'm unnaturally peppy.  Today Joanna is at home with Duncan and I'm in cubieville.

I wandered down to Roosevelt yesterday afternoon to go to Sam's parent-teacher conferences.  It felt like speed dating, all these tables lined up in the gym, chatting and bonding until the bell rang.  My first stop was with Sam's favorite teacher, who was completely shocked to find out he was Sam's favorite teacher.  It turns out he's a really nice guy, and I think has made world history quite fun for Sam.  The second was his English literature teacher, who I already knew. 

In general, Sam seems to be doing fine in his classes.  He's a bit reserved, but participates in conversations.  Sam also seems more confident with projects.  There were some concerns about his health and absences.  It sounds like he's mostly made up assignments, though not always perfectly.  I think he still has some gym tests that are outstanding.

We worked on homework for a long time last night, with his Theodore Roosevelt assignment taking forever.  He was pretty loopy last night, barely coherent as he finished up his math.  Still, we got it done and he managed more reading that night.

Today his game comes out.  He's been counting the hours all week.

Midweek Update

November 09, 2011 by Adam in Family

Nothing too exciting to report.  Duncan was out of school, so I've been working at home today.  He spent most of the time working on this rather epic book he made with Microsoft Paint and Word, occasionally asking me for spelling help.

I'm off to Sam's parent-teacher conference in a half hour.  Life continues as usual: laundry, feeding children, coordinating schedules, helping with homework, and so on.  Looking forward to seeing Emma tomorrow.  Sam's counting down the days for the Skyrim release.  I get it a few days later in the mail, something he regularly taunts me about.

Swimming, Guy Fawkes, and Family Dinners

November 07, 2011 by Adam in Family

Back at work after an eventful weekend.  I managed a bit of relaxation, though it did seem that we ran through a tremendous amount of activities.

On Friday night Sam was at Jamie's and we played with the kids in the basement.  Come morning, I found myself playing with everyone again in the basement, alternatively pretending to be a monster and a monkey.  Eventually we moved on to crepes and sausages, with Joanna running to the store so that I could have my morning mocha.  I picked up Sam after a grocery run with Emma.  I put the boy to work outside, trimming shrubbery, and set him to reading while we took the rest of the crew swimming.  Sam and I continued our zombie fighting adventures with Matt and Josh. Joanna made pumpkin pie for Sunday, and we relaxed until pizza and Mythbusters that night. 

We headed outside to celebrate Guy Fawkes' day.  Mostly it was an excuse to tromp around outside to burn sparklers and other odd things in the dark.

We had more crepes on Sunday, after I finished my Batman game in the wee hours of the morning.  Emma and I went to the library and ran errands.  In the afternoon, we headed to Berry's Autumn Fair.  Kiera, Emma's old teacher's daughter, painted a ferret face on Emma.  Lots of crafts were made, and we eventually headed home.  That night was a massive family dinner: Hanni, mom, Bob, Yayoe, John, Jenny, Destin, and Jordan all showed up for soup, bread, salad, and lots of dessert.  Good times.

December trip

November 06, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

I keep forgetting to post our December trip plans.  We'll be flying in to PDX the day after Christmas, and flying back on Jan 1.  I think we're hoping for some quiet "free" time, but for the most part we're excited about all the overwelling and load family time!! 

Double-Mocha Friday

November 04, 2011 by Adam in Family

I had two mochas today.  The first I made myself this morning.  The second was given to me by a happy customer, along with a fresh blueberry scone.  Delicious.

Jamie and I went to Emma's parent-teacher conference this morning.  She's doing very well with school, is social and cheerful and generally well rounded.  Emma gets high marks in reading and math, and is good at giving presentations in front of class.  Her spelling needs some work, but I figure that'll improve as she reads more.

Since the conference was in the morning, we hung out at home until it was time to go.  I worked a little, but Emma somehow managed to lure me over for her Glee pony project.  She printed out Glee-themed pony drawings from deviantart, cut them out, pasted them on cardboard, and made little stands for them.  When we were talking to her teacher, she played with them to entertain herself.

The week has gone fairly well.  Joanna and I went out Wednesday night.  Emma arrived yesterday and wanted to work on homework, so I made some up for her.  This morning she was programming in Scratch and making a rotating sun.

We're hanging out with kids tonight, though I'm not sure what we're doing.  Family swim is a tad late.  We may just stay home and relax.  Tomorrow Sam and I have some tentative coop gaming, and I want to get Emma to get a new fish.  House projects are always calling to me, and perhaps we can get outside too.

electrification and root canals

November 03, 2011 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

We now have power, heat, and water, although we are limping by without internet. My dentist's office reopened and I got to move my root canal to tomorrow, too. In the meantime, I'm sucking on ice cubes at UMass, taking conference calls in the library telephone booth. There's nothing like the creature comforts. 


November 03, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Yesterday I stupidly rubbed my eye while cooking.  Oh, did I mention that I had chyenne (sp?) pepper on my fingers?  Ouch!!  After riping out my contact (hmmm... before I rinsed my hands, so more pepper got in my eye), I did the whole flush with cold water thing, and then walked around all day with my glasses on and a puffy red eye.  At least the food was yummy!

After Halloween

November 01, 2011 by Adam in Family

We all survived Halloween, and I'm looking forward to a quiet evening tonight.  Joanna spent the day at work walking around, giving out candy and asking for donations.  I had it easier, but the boots still pinched and the facial hair began to drive me crazy.

We got home, quickly ate, and rushed out the door to begin the trick-or-treating madness.  It was generally a good time, and our bowl of candy was gone by the end of the night, with each of the three kids gorging themselves on candy.  Mom came by to hand out "envelopes".  Each kid was beside themselves with the cold hard cash contained within.

Photos of October snow

October 31, 2011 by Greg in Sadie & Greg

While Sadie's posting the details of our fine adventure without power, I thought I might share some photos of what 12" of snow in October looks like.

H2Jo Monday

October 31, 2011 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Without power, heat, or water, I wasn't able to have my customary morning latte. Fortunately, Ms. Carly Bruder got us an H2Jo for our wedding. We also got to use our propane backpacking stove and kitchen equipment for the first time.

Mocha Halloween

October 31, 2011 by Adam in Family

It's Halloween, and I just finished my mocha, dressed in full pirate regalia.  Few people at work have dressed up, which is somewhat disappointing.  Our family was pretty enthusiastic, though.  Emma was a ghost.  Joanna a runaway bride.  Berry and Duncan were Moshi Monsters (video game characters).  Sam had his creeper shirt on.  We're quite the bunch.

Emma went to the coast on Friday with her mom, so Sam and I spent a lot of time together.  We walked to get haircuts on Saturday while Joanna went to a birthday party with the little kids.  Afterward, we hooked up with Josh and Matt and played Dead Island for a surprisingly long length of time.  Fighting zombies was quite funny with the rest of the boys. 

Sunday I picked up some hedge trimmers after a hearty breakfast of crepes and sausages.  It started raining quite a bit, so Sam and I played on the computer once again until the weather cleared.  I tried to get Sam outside to work, but his cold kicked in and he went inside early.  I maniacally chopped up the shrubbery and it looks quite nice.  Emma arrived, also with sniffles.  The rest of the afternoon had Joanna working on costumes, putting out spiderwebs, and pizza and Mythbusters.

This morning was a bit of a madhouse, getting kids ready for Halloween.  Sam was also claiming intense fatigue, but I hauled him off anyway.  We dropped off all four kids at their four respective schools, eventually getting to work.  Tonight we're all trick-or-treating around the neighborhood, and handing out massive amounts of candy to the wandering hordes.  Good times.

Mocha Friday

October 28, 2011 by Adam in Family

We have a new cafe at work and their mocha is pretty tasty.  Already I feel the brainpower of a dozen men flowing through my noggin.

Sam is all better, which is a big relief.  I perked up mid-morning yesterday, and by the time I returned home, he was his usual funny self.  Yesterday also marked Emma's arrival, and flu mists for all.

Joanna organized an outing to get the kids all vaccinated.  They have flu mist now, instead of shots, and it went quite well.  Emma was a little nervous, as flu vaccinations haven't been part of the annual routine, but it turned into a fun little outing, with our sitter Jenny taking everyone to the hospital.

Dinner last night was stir-fry, which turned out quite well.  Somehow we got on the topic of accents, I think because Emma sometimes talks with a British accent in her class.  Soon enough Joanna broke out her full range of accents.  I was requested to talk like a Scotsman.  Eventually all sense of propriety broke down and I was saying "word to your mother" in pirate.  It was great family fun.

We had a typical evening, and continued watching The Middle, which we increasingly identify with.  This morning we dropped off all the kids at their respective schools, and Joanna at the hospital.  I came in somewhat fashionably late, strangely excited to get down to work.

Tonight Joanna and I have a hot date planned, Emma's off to the coast with her mom, Sam and I have plans to do some work for cash, and accomplish assorted house projects.  Hopefully we can work in some play time too.

Life's good.

Sick Sam

October 26, 2011 by Adam in Family

Sam's sick again for the second day in a row.  He managed to get himself to school on Monday, but has been nauseous and throwing up since then.  On the plus side, he's been getting quite a bit of his reading done and hopefully finishes up his book today.  Occasionally he'll get his appetite back, and ate a ton of bread and sandwiches last night.  Poor guy.

I also learned by accident that Sam is somehow musically inclined.  His teacher was praising him for his singing, and has some sort of solo part in one of their songs.

Otherwise, the week has been somewhat ordinary.  Kids are going to school, work is getting done, and live goes on.  Emma's away this weekend with her mom, and Sam is here.  All the kids will be around for Halloween, which is very cool.  Joanna has been making costumes like a pro, and I put a little work into a pirate sword.

New Cookbook

October 25, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Well, it's been almost 2 months without eating meat (just me - not Robbie and Isabell), and I finally went out and bought a new cookbook.  I've been doing well adapting our usual dinner recipes, but it was time for some new inspiration. 

I picked up the Moosewood Cookbook (it was actually afordable), but I'm wondering if any of you guys have other suggested cookbooks, websites, or favorite vegetarian recipes.  (Please remember that "gormet" grocery stores are few and far between!)

Hugs to all!

I Ran

October 25, 2011 by Adam in Family

It's Monday night and my legs are still sore from running in the Race for the Cure on Sunday.  Everyone is still a little sick, and Berry is working on being grumpy in a variety of ways, but the weekend was generally pleasant.

Emma was sick Friday and Sam had no school, so it was Sam, Emma, and I hanging out all day.  Emma mostly stayed in her room in the morning, and Sam caught up on homework from the time he was sick. Eventually Emma perked up and we played some Munchkin.  Amazingly, we all won at the same time after carefully coordinating with each other.  Sam's famous moment was using his Ranger card to tame Cthulu and use him as his steed.

Eventually Sam went to his mom's and we had a quiet evening with the younger kids.  I did a quick library run in the morning, and then we all went to a farm to pick up pumpkins and goodies.  Berry was sick and cranky, so I carried her around.  We returned home to carve pumpkins and hang out.  I wasn't feeling very good, so I took it easy.

I woke up crazy early for the race, waking up kids and Joanna, and getting us out the door in the dark.  Everyone put on their t-shirts and converged at the racing line.  It was quite the festive atmosphere and the outfits were outrageous, with boob jokes everywhere.  Eventually the race started and 23 minutes later I was being cheered on by Berry, Duncan, Emma, and Joanna.

We didn't want to wait for the actual walk, so we took the kids and ran a couple miles, crossing the finish line through a corridor of cheerleaders.  Everyone satisfied, we then went out for breakfast at the Glenwood.

The rest of the day was fairly uneventful. Sam did chores.  Emma helped me out in the shop.  I sanded and refinished Joanna's old bread box.  Emma made a music instrument out of weird parts.  The day wrapped up with pizza and Mythbusters.  All is well.

Food for Lane County

October 20, 2011 by Adam in Family

Joanna and I went out to Food for Lane County last night for our hot date night.  We were volunteering with a marketing group that Joanna is a member of, taking food donated by restaurants and getting it ready to go out to assorted hungry people.

It was pretty cool, and the warehouse was massive.  We decided it was a great place to go during a zombie apocalypse.  I also got to use a hydraulic palette mover, which was surprisingly fun.

All four kids are in school today after being sick off and on all week.  Yesterday I worked from home and got a surprising amount done.  Duncan and Emma were crashed out in bed, watching Netflix and being pitiful.

Berry's Half Birthday

October 19, 2011 by Adam in Family

Berry is four and a half today.  Joanna made the biggest cupcake in the world, half chocolate cake and half strawberry cake.  Berry just ate the icing.

Everyone is Sick

October 18, 2011 by Adam in Family

All four kids are sick today. Joanna and I were up off and on last night, tending to Berry and Duncan. I woke up Sam to check on him, and all he wanted was painkillers before going back to bed. Joanna volunteered to stay home with everyone this morning, and I'll probably sneak home from work early to help out.

Three Day Weekend

October 17, 2011 by Adam in Family

It's been a bit of a nutty weekend, as both Duncan and Sam were sick today.  I think both are on the mend after sleeping in for 14 or so hours.  We'll see who's next.

I managed a few house projects, mostly of the practical types like laundry and library trips.  I picked up Sam late morning while still in my PJs and we hung about for most of the day.  The highlight was picking up pizza at Mezza Luna for pizza and Mythbusters.  Everyone loved it, except for Emma, strangely enough.

Sunday morning I took Sam and Emma hiking, while the rest of the family went to church.  Emma found all manner of interesting nature things to put in sample vials, and Sam talked about video game design the entire time.  We all returned home for lunch, and everyone but Sam went out to get fabric for Halloween costumes.

It ended up being quite the adventure, as everyone else in the world had the same idea.  I took the little kids to the dollar store, and we returned to show off our treasures.  After about an hour, we finally got the fabric cut and were out the door.

I tried hard to be lazy for the rest of the day, and somewhat succeeded.  I put in some work on the new game, trying to implement "object carrying" code.  The box I picked up kept vanishing or going through the floor, to my great disappointment.

The sky is falling (just kidding)

October 17, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

There was a 3.8 earthquake this morning.  The epicenter was somewhere between Sante Fe and Espanola.  After years of small quakes in OR - that I never felt - it was weird to actually feel/hear one.  I didn't realize how load they were!  It sounded like a big truck went rumbling down our road.  Other than a small growl from the dog (so much for animal insticts) there wasn't much to it.

Belated Mocha Friday

October 15, 2011 by Adam in Family

Okay, it's actually Saturday morning.  Duncan and I are puttering on our respective computers and Berry and Joanna are fast asleep.  In a couple hours Emma will magically arrive, and I'm picking up Sam soon after.

It's been a pleasant, relatively uneventful week.  Sam ended up with a pulled muscle in his gym class and hobbled around for a couple days, but made it to his next class and has been fine since then.  I had a couple time where I got up in the middle of the night to change wet beds.  Last night I managed to sleep until 5:30 a.m. before being woken up by anyone.

I took Friday off work, as all the kids were out of school.  I fed pancakes and waffles to everyone, and then Emma strangely wanted to go to my work.  There was a quick stop for a mocha and hot chocolate, and then we were on our way.  We stayed there a surprising length of time, playing in my cubicle and visiting with people.  Eventually we returned for lunch and Emma went to play with Berry, Duncan, and Jenny in the basement.

Sam and I went to work in the garage, filling the minivan with scrap metal and items to donate.  I think he secretly liked flinging chairs and grills into the giant bins.  We returned to tidy up and I can now walk around the garage for the first time in months.

I took the kids to Jamie's in the afternoon, and Jessica arrived to take Berry and Duncan to the farm.  Joanna and I chatted for awhile in the rare silence, and then got gussied up for a dinner out.  We hit the Verizon store, looking at new cell phones, and then ate dinner at PF Changs.

All-in-all, life is good.  I'm excited for a weekend of hanging out with kids and assorted house projects.

One of those days...

October 14, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

It's been one of those days - yuck!  It was good for about 30 seconds, and then I actually had to get up.  We planned to go camping this weekend, but that's off now, as we're faced with another plumbing fiasco.  Sigh... I'm going to look at seed catalogues!

Project RPG

October 12, 2011 by Adam in Sam

Sam and I have been working on a new game.  There's not much too it, but it's fairly professional looking.  You can see more here.


October 11, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

It feels a little crazy that 14 years ago Robbie and I got married.  We met 16 years ago in September!  This morning we were talking about how strange time is.  In some ways the years have flown by, and in other ways a few years ago can feel like a lifetime!

We're keeping things pretty small this year, due to a lot of unexpected expenses the last month or so, but we will have some great wine (always good to have friends who own a winery)!

Hate him, hate him, wouldn't want to date him...

October 11, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

As a result of having a language loving family and four funny kids, I have sayings from the late 1800's (Susie, you're moving so fast you could play marbles on your skirts) to slang from the present. The title of this must have come from the 80's or 90's.

Anyhow, this law suit with my business partner drags on. At this point, it's gone on longer than my three gestation periods combined. Seraph brought me some "Attorney Be Stupid" incense powder from the House of Voodoo in New Orleans. I would like to have volunteers to make a midnight raid  with meand sprinkle it outside the attorney's office just before trial. Joanna, makes me miss your Mom. She'd do it!

Thanks, Seraph, for your support.  And this update is really an apology for being so out of touch for so long.

Plus, I had to evict my new farm tenants (not Sarah and Nate, of course). It was funny - they really were grifters. I checked her FB page - religious affiliation displayed proudly, of course. FB needs new categories. Fake Christians and Honest Christians. The latter category seems to be getting smaller and smaller. I need to go home to Normalville and go to the good old Normalville Methodist Church for awhile. My faith in God is fine, it's my faith in people who say they believe in God that's a bit weak these days.


My first not terrible apple pie

October 11, 2011 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I made my first successful apple pie yesterday, which was just as good for breakfast this morning:

Work is going really well. I launched a few big surveys last week, and am enjoying the small lull in furious calls, emails, and editing that precede emailing thousands of people all at once. 

I want to give a shout out to a phenomenal reader from back in the adamandjamie days. She is my heroine for following the radical intellectual dream and is still rocking the face off critical studies at Berkeley. Way to be, Jacqui. 

Mostly Relaxing Weekend

October 10, 2011 by Adam in Family

I woke up early today, made my lunch and did the dishes.  Later I made pancakes and bacon for everyone, and then we began taking everyone to school.  I carried Berry to the bus, as we were a little late, and made Joanna stay in the car while Duncan, Emma, and I went to the playground.  Joanna's foot has been bugging her since a visit to the podatrist.  To top it off, she's phoneless after it mysteriously broke while in the care of children.  A new one arrives tomorrow, but I think she's suffering withdrawl symptoms.

Friday night we tried to go swimming, but it was closed and we went to the library instead.  Live jazz was playing away, and we stopped by the cafe for goodies.  It made for a fun date night with kids.

Saturday was a little rough.  Joanna wasn't feeling good and kids were a bit grumpy.  I wanted to take Emma swimming so she could show off her skills from her swimming class.  Unfortunately things fell apart and I ended up taking Berry to my mom's house, who thankfully took her in.  Emma and I went swimming at Sheldon Pool and had a great time.  We later returned to scoop up Berry.  She and my mom had assembled flowers for everyone, which was wonderful.

The afternoon was pretty low-key.  We watched Glee. Duncan had a play date.  Emma and I went shopping. 

On Sunday Sam returned and we dived into house projects.  Sam and I worked in the bathroom, he scraping off the sealant from around the tub, while I replaced the wax seal on the toilet.  It was annoying work, but we got it done and things look much nicer.

In the afternoon he and I worked on our game, dubbed "project RPG".  Currently we have an area you can walk around in, complete with a sky, water, and a menu that let's you exit the game.  Not much yet, but it's reasonably pretty.

Emma and I ran to get her a new fish, as her guppy, Strawberry, died.  The new Betta is quite blue and pretty.  We swung by Provisions to pick up pizza for a Mythbusters-fueled evening.  Good times.

Happy Birthday Mom!

October 09, 2011 by Robbie in Cortez

I'm the In-the-dog-house-son!  Happy belated birthday mom! With my hectic work schedule and busy weekend, I forgot to call my mom for her birthday. GUILT, GUILT, GUILT!!!  Though I forgot to call, you are always on my mind, I hope you had a good birthday! Love you!

Mocha Friday

October 07, 2011 by Adam in Family

My boss returned from a conference, returning with so much swag.  I have t-shirts, flying monkeys, balls that make weird noises, and a frisbee - all slathered with assorted corporate logos.  The kids will love it.

Yesterday was a wacky day, leaving work and picking up Berry and Duncan from school, as our sitter Jen was still sick.  Emma got dropped off and she went with me to the dentist, greatly amusing everyone with her funny banter.  We returned home and threw dinner together.  Sam chose to work some more, cleaning the second couch in the basement.  I'll miss him tomorrow, and may do some gaming or Skyping together.  We're working on an adventure game together, and have some design issues to discuss.

Tonight we're going to try to go to the newly opened Tamarak pool.  Tomorrow will likely be a mix of yard work, shopping, and library trips.  We'll do pizza and Mythbusters on Sunday.  All is well.

Wednesday Already

October 06, 2011 by Adam in Family

Sam's working away in the basement, cleaning couches in exchange for cash.  He's paying off a debt to his mom, and then working to get a new video game.  This last weekend it was cleaning the cars, something I greatly appreciate.

We had three go-lives this week, including our internal home page this morning.  There were a couple bugs, but generally people seemed quite positive.  I was burned out by the end of the day, so I headed home 30 minutes early to fight zombies with Sam and Matt.

Last night Joanna and I went to a fundraiser dinner for the 4J school system.  It was neat in some ways, though it did make me realize that I'm merely breaking even these days.

Tonight was pretty uneventful.  Homework with kids, throwing dinner together out of bits and pieces, and we'll likely watch some shows before bedtime.  I called Emma, who was enthusiastic and quickly returned to her Glee watching.  It'll be nice to see her tomorrow.


October 06, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

With all the news in the world today, I feel particularly sad about the death of Steve Jobs.

Work, work, work

October 04, 2011 by Adam in Family

I completely spaced updating yesterday.  The morning began with two go-lives at work, and the pace has been pretty intense since then.  I had my flu shot yesterday, feel a little cruddy today, and ended up taking a mocha for medicinal purposes.  Needless to say, I've perked up considerably.

Last Friday Joanna and I went out to dinner in Springfield and an art exhibit.  I don't spend a lot of time on that side of the Eugene-Springfield-Glenwood greater metropolitan area, so it was a bit of an adventure.  We returned early to tuck kids into bed.

Saturday morning Joanna took Duncan to a play date with his "girlfriend."  Emma, Berry, and I went to the library and then off to the pet store to get fish.  We met up with Joanna next door at Ross, greatly amusing Berry by sneaking through the aisles until we snuck up to Joanna.  Emma bought a couple guppies with her own money and I got some plants out of a touch of enthusiasm myself.

The afternoon was fairly low-key. Jamie picked up Emma to watch Dolphin's Tale and I had a little downtime.

Sunday morning I picked up Sam while Joanna cooked up a massive breakfast of crepes, waffles, sausages, and eggs.  It was absolutely delicious.  Joanna and the little kids then went off to a new church, which they seemed to enjoy.  Emma watched her Spiderwick Chronicles movie, and Sam and I played videogames together, all of which was quite pleasant. Later, Emma read her Spiderwick Chronicles book and made fairy houses while Joanna and I gardened.  It felt good to tidy up.

Sam decided he needed to get some work done in order to earn money for an upcoming game.  I had him vacuum and clean cars, which was great.  Last night he cleaned carpets, and tonight his plan is to clean couches in the basement.  If he's still up for it, I hope to get him cleaning the basement and doing some plumbing.  That boy will be useful yet.

We had everyone over for dinner Sunday night, and Joanna whipped up sushi for all.  There was a bit of cleaning, but otherwise we tried to take it somewhat easy.

Life is busy, but generally enjoyable.  Tonight Joanna's taking me on an adventure to an education fundraiser.  I get to sit at the principal's table.  Hopefully I don't get in trouble.

quiting basketball

October 02, 2011 by Isa in Isa

it has been a long time since i have written and just to update you I have quit basketball because it was really reallyhot in the gym and i kept on getting bad headaches so yeah.

Stinkin' Birthday

October 02, 2011 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Greg and I went to the (Stinkin') Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival and ate out at a fancy farm to table joint for his birthday. The Garlic Festival was just like festivals in Eugene (great food, local crafts, and torrential rain), but it was fun to see the silk rope trapeze act billowed by the wind. At Tabella's, our waitress switched Greg's order and atoned by giving us an evening of free wine, for which we are still nursing hangovers. It was pretty great. Getting excited about this season's apples and pears- I made my first apple pie last week and am going to can brandied pears this afternoon.  

Update:brandied pears (and brandied pear cake) a success. 

Cruddy Mocha Friday

September 30, 2011 by Adam in Family

It's been a marginally cruddy day, full of borderline-sick kids, interruptions at work, and miscommunication.  The bright point in it all is that it's almost done and the weekend is right around the corner.

Sam and Emma went to their mom's after complaining of illness early in the day.  They spent the day reading in bed, evidently without complaint.  We were going to start swapping Emma on Friday nights, but she'd like to come over tonight.  I think Emma would like a change of scenery.

We had pizza and Mythbusters last night, working around the family dinner Sunday night and not having Sam Saturday night.  It was quite enjoyable, though it did result in a lot of rushing about, trying to accomplish homework.

We also had Lana overnight, a friend of Berry and Duncan's. Lana's mom Maria was a good friend of Colette's, and just found out her son has cancer.  We took care of Lana for a bit while Maria got ready for a trip to California to see him.  I snapped a picture of all the kids watching Cinderella, even Sam (who hid his face).

As for the weekend, the plan is to get fish for Emma's tank, do some house projects, and possibly do a bit of volunteer gardening at Berry and Duncan's school.  Tonight Joanna and I are going out to eat and then visiting an art gallery.  It's nice to have adventures.

Colette's Birthday

September 28, 2011 by Adam in Family

Wednesday already.  I'm slowly getting over a mild cold, feeling fairly good at the moment.  Work has been interesting and family life is moving along.  Last night we had a special dinner in honor of Colette's birthday.  There were eggs and chips, and delicious treats from Metropol.  I had carrot cake, which was delicious.

Emma came over as well, and she was charming and happy.  It's always great to see her and am looking forward to the weekend.  Jamie and I have been fiddling with the kid schedule and have chosen to alternate Friday nights between houses.  It's a little tricky, but hopefully it'll work out for everyone.

Sam's been responsible with catching up with his missing assignments.  He's also continued his enthusiasm for programming.  Last night he was Skyping with his friend Evan, who contributed some theme music he created on his Mac.  It's cool seeing him collaborate and learn all these accidental skills while persuing his hobby.

Duncan yanked out his tooth during Monday dinner.  Berry continues to put on way too much makeup.  I drove them to school this morning, making sure to draw faces for them in the dew on the window.  Joanna finally got her graduation plan approved, so theoretically she'll get her bachelor's degree soon.  So much for dating a co-ed.  Sigh.

Pet-Filled Weekend

September 26, 2011 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work after a very pleasant weekend.  It was a pleasant mix of work and play, and the kids were funny and interesting, as always.

Friday night was a reprieve of sorts.  Emma went out to dinner with her mom, Joanna took Berry and Duncan to a school event, and Sam was too sick to play anything.  Instead, I listened to World War Z on my phone and maniacally cleaned the basement.  It was a wreck and a mess, so I scrubbed and organized and vacuumed.  I sat down to eat some salad, and then get Emma to bed.

We ran errands Saturday morning, going to the library, Down to Earth for soap and bulbs, and getting goodies at the farmer's market.  We cleaned and gardened more in the afternoon, as well as playing with kids.  Emma and I in particular had some great sword fights and play time in the basement.  She actually broke out her old kitchen set and prepared assorted soups for me while I scrubbed the floors.  Late afternoon, Emma, Joanna, and I watched Glee.  Now Emma wants to dye her hair pink.

Jessica came by to watch the kids in the evening, and we realized how much we missed each other.  I think her school has been rough this year, with lots of kid responsibilities.  Fortunately she's available in the evenings to come over and help on occasion.  Joanna and I went to Off the Waffle, where I devoured a delicious waffle with banannas and whip cream.  We also researched a Christmas trip on the netbook, which was terribly exciting.

Sam arrived early on Sunday, eager to program.  We ended up with jMonkeyEngine, an open-source java SDK.  It's pretty cool, and he got through the tutorials by the end of the day.  This morning as we left, he told me he'd look over the code and we could talk about changes later.  It was one of the happiest moments of fatherhood.

We also did pet expeditions.  Joanna returned with two gerbils - Sulu and Pear.  Emma and I went to get aquarium supplies.  It's all set up and running, and next weekend we can get the fish.

It was a wonderful weekend, and I feel refreshed for the week ahead.

The last bit of fall

September 26, 2011 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

All we got form the CSA this Saturday were green tomatoes and beets, a sign that summer is through. This picture - a tomato, basil, and potato au gratin- is in honor of all the great tomatoes we ate last month.

I just finished Gwendolyn Brooks' March, a fictional account of the experience of Little Women's Mr. March, who was a Union minister in the Civil War. It was fantastic, and I never read historical fiction- testament to my friend Anna Monas' impeccable taste. She has also passed on When You Reach Me by Rebbecca Stead, which I highly recommend for imaginative and precocious readers in or nearing middle school... and for everyone else who'd like their socks knocked right off and into the washing machine.

We had dinner with friends this weekend, who we haven't seen since mid August. Greg's enjoying classes and I'm loving every minute of True Impact. It's like graduate school with a funnier teacher and a more satisfying purpose. 

the candle wick flame

September 25, 2011 by Robbie in Cortez

Posted by Isabell:

Hey, adam I was wondering if you could make me a post for family of adam. Also I am going to start a blog on family of adam called the candle wick flame. So can you please give me a my own post?





Do you ever feel like the world just seems to freeze in the middle of somthing. Today I was looking for something to do when all of a sudden a my black cat (Midnight)jumped out of nowhere and scared me half to death. when I got up she just stood there like nothing happened, and looking at me like i had just dropped out of the sky. I looked back at her back but I think I was really breathing hard because she raced by me and nicked my skin, and thats when the world just froze on me. Any way I think sometimes cats are the ones who drop out of the sky.   

Meetings Over, Week Wrapping Up

September 23, 2011 by Adam in Family

I'm exhausted.

I've been in team meetings for most of the week, which finally wrapped up.  It was nice to see our geographically diverse team, and to finally get a play date set up between Emma and Summer.  Still, the whole thing took a lot out of me.

Wednesday night we went to dinner at Glen's house.  I picked up Emma from her mom's house, met up with everyone at home, and drove over.  Emma and Summer chatted, swam in the hot tub, and had a good time.  Everyone was amazed by Sam's height, and he loved the BBQ.  Duncan and Berry played with the parachute for most of the time.  Emma asked if she could move in with Summer when she's an adult.  I dropped Emma off at her mom's, wearing her swimming suit and boots.

Last night I drove out to the beach as part of our meetings, drove back, and returned in time to drive again to the Edgewood BBQ.  We ate, ran around briefly and returned.  I grabbed Sam to begin the homework process and started working on the kitchen.  I must have looked so pitiful that Joanna started helping me out and tried to get me to sit down.  Eventually I finished up, got Emma to bed, and the three of us relaxed with Modern Family.

Poor Sam continues to be sick, and was sleeping in this morning.  This is his second day out, and he was so bored yesterday that he made a "scarecrow" out of gym clothes and a blanket.  We left it in the play room, warning Joanna just in case she went down there.

Mid-Week Update

September 21, 2011 by Adam in Family

Wednesday already, with face-to-face team meetings over the next few days at work.  That means a lot of eating out and chatting with coworkers, which is generally agreeable.  I will my miss my gym time with Joanna.

The week has gone well, if relatively uneventfully.  We had Flynn over for awhile when Victoria had to go to a school event.  He and Berry played with Legos, which they proudly displayed to me at the end of the day.  We ended up with some chocolate cookies from across the street in compensation.

Sam and I had a guy movie night yesterday, watching the 1982 classic The Thing.  I'd never watched it somehow, and neither of us were particularly frightened or grossed out, but enjoyed it and the interesting story it told.  I miss 1980's Kurt Russel.  When we came upstairs, we found Joanna relaxing to Plants versus Zombies and Sam and I played a bit of Minecraft.  Our swamp village is coming along nicely (just below the house icon on the map).

Belated Wedding Photos

September 19, 2011 by Lohring in Lohring

Thanks to all of you for a wonderful wedding.  I'm late posting all this because right after Danica left I got the flu.  I'm recovering just in time for our trip to Las Vegas. 

Decorating with Danica & Krystyna


Ana's family: niece Stacy (Joy's baby), sister Helen, niece Joy, niece Erna


Seraph & Hani


Berry & Emma


Us with Reverend Will


Man & Wife


Cutting the cake


Sadie & Sue


Yayoe & John


Adam, Sam, & Emma


Seraph always helping out




Ana's son, Vince & Krystyna


I think the bride ate a lot of wedding cake


Thanks again everybody

Relaxing at Work

September 19, 2011 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work, which sometimes feels relaxing after the wild weekends.  Friday night we put Hobbes down, which was a strange mix of laughing kids watching cat videos on YouTube, and Joanna holding Hobbes and crying.  My mom and Bob were over for moral support, which was quite nice.  The vet was very empathetic and understanding.

Saturday we met up with Danica after a breakfast of pancakes and cafe mocha (for me anyway).  We went to Saturday Market and the library, returning with food and books.  Danica was quite pleasant and helped with the smaller kids considerably.  She and Emma spent some time planning an aquarium, which may happen in the future.

Joanna and I went to a wedding in the evening.  We went to the wrong place (the invitations had the wrong address), and rushed in at the last minute.  The ceremony was lovely and the food was pretty good.  I managed to sneak in one dance and we headed home to kids.

Sunday wasn't quite as relaxing as I'd liked, though it did have some high points and we got some work done.  The pool was taken down, we worked in the garden, and Emma and I went food shopping.  Sam, Emma, and I played a bit of D&D.  Sam and I played some Dead Island, where he managed to crash the car and we were forced to tediously carry our juice boxes to the rest of the survivors.  The evening wrapped up with pizza and Rough Science.

I took the three younger kids to school today, which went quite well.  Emma walked Berry onto the bus.  Duncan cheerfully played with friends on the playground until his school started.  I dropped Emma off at nearby Edgewood.  Now I can relax and write some code.


September 19, 2011 by Adam in Adam's Games

There was a Minecraft update recently.  I've been expanding our world into the new wilderness, where deep oceans and mysterious island ruins await.  I've been mining iron to turn into mine tracks so that we can easily travel from place to place.

I also ended up getting this program that maps out your minecraft world, and I have it updating each night.  Take a gander.  It works just like Google Maps, where you can zoom in and pan around.

Kitty Pancakes

September 16, 2011 by Adam in Family

It's Hobbes' last day today.  I made kitty pancakes for Duncan and Emma.  It made Duncan sad, and Emma talked about how we'd still have the chickens.  So he didn't feel left out, I made Sam Cthulu pancakes.  I think he had fun eating his Elder God with syrup and peanut butter.

It's been a hectic week.  Last night Joanna and I fed leftovers to the kids and ate cereal for dinner.  She was off to school while I somehow got Duncan and Sam through homework, and packed three lunches.  Joanna was a bit late coming back, so I also got kids into PJs, ready for bed, and then rushed off to get Emma bathed and in bed.  Once the three younger kids were asleep, Joanna declared that she was going straight to bed herself.

Sam kept me company, and we played Left 4 Dead with Matt.  Of course, by bedtime I was so hopped up on adrenaline from fighting zombies, it took awhile to go to sleep.  We had a great time, though.

Tonight Sam goes to his mom's house, a bit reluctantly.  He's been lamenting his lack of free time during the school schedule, and wants to play more Dead Island with me.  He also wants to play D&D with Emma and I, and I suggested Sunday as a good day.  My mom wants to take the two of us to see a movie at the Bijoux, but I have no idea when I can schedule it.

I took Emma to school this morning.  She was very sweet last night and this morning, helping with younger kids and being cheerful.  I look forward to hanging out with her tomorrow.

We're putting Hobbes to sleep tonight.  I imagine it'll be pretty sad, with the edge taken off by kitty cookies and a cat-themed movie.  Danica is supposed to visit this weekend, though I've yet to hear a peep.  My mocha is finished and I best get back to work.


September 15, 2011 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

It was awesome seeing everyone this weekend. We brought much affection and infection home with us; Greg is on antibiotics for a sinus infection and I'm limping by on NyQuil and hot toddies. Greg is prescribing pork chops.

We took a bunch of blurry pictures of the wedding, but at least this one captured a gesture of the celebration of Ana and Lohring at the sweetheart table.

Zombies, Cyborgs, and Miners

September 14, 2011 by Adam in Adam's Games

We've been playing a mix of games in the Miller-Bartlett household.  The younger kids are all about Moshi Monsters, to the point where Duncan finally convinced Joanna to get him a membership for a month.  Sam and I are the only ones who have resisted playing.

I continue my Deus Ex gaming, sneaking my way through with as little bloodshed as I can manage.  It's an interesting zen-like experience, though I keep accumulating increasingly powerful and exotic weapons that I hope I'll never use.  I think the conspiracy is about to unravel, though I can never be sure with these sort of things.

In stark contrast, Sam convinced me to get Dead Island, a free-roaming zombie game.  It's extremely buggy and violent, though strangely the most effective way to fight zombies is to kick them to (even more) death.  Still, it's pretty fun co-op game.  Sam and I went exploring and freed an uninfected person from an old bunker after using a precious Molotov on a couple massive zombies.  We took our reward truck and drove around on the beaches like crazy people.

The latest Minecraft came out, and Sam and Duncan were cheerfully playing this morning.  Even Joanna piped in with a "we need to play some Minecraft this weekend."  Sam's encouraging us to start a new server, and abandon our months of construction on the old.  A family discussion may be needed.


September 14, 2011 by Adam in Family

We took Hobbes to the vet and got the prognosis that it was likely cancer and she didn't have long to live.  The plan is to spend some time with her over the next few days, and then arrange for her to be euthanized at home this Friday afternoon.  There's a place in Junction City that does pet cremation.

We told Duncan and Berry, who immediately started writing cards for her.  Duncan wanted Hobbes to be stuffed so that he could still play with her, though Joanna didn't seem keen on the idea.  We'll let Emma know tomorrow.  The tentative plan is to have a kitty wake this Friday night, perhaps with cat-shaped cookies and a cat-themed movie night.

The rest of the week has continued on relatively uneventfully, if somewhat busy.  Sam's getting into the swing of things at Roosevelt.  He hasn't found his old friend, Jordan, who has been absent, but last year's "new kid" Evan has been promoted to buddy status.  He likes his world history class, and is strangely enthusiastic about Spanish.  There are a few teachers he's not keen on, but he burned through his math homework last night without hardly any assistance.  Mostly we chatted while I did the dishes.

Joanna, Sam, and I finished the A-Team movie, which was fun and ridiculous.  We watched the original tv show for fifteen minutes or so on Netflix.  Joanna and I waxed nostalgic, while Sam thought is was relatively high-budget but extremely silly.

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggidy Jig

September 12, 2011 by Adam in Family

It's official.  My dad got hitched.

Friday night was our brief moment of relaxation, Joanna and I going to Cafe Soriah for dinner, and then Market of Choice for food shopping.  Saturday morning we packed up the kids and drove like maniacs, picking up Sam and Emma from their mom's beach house on the way up.  We made it in time to freshen up and get ready for the ceremony.

The wedding itself was quite nice, one of the few times I've ever seen my dad in a tuxedo.  Anna looked lovely and everyone was on their best behavior.  I took all the kids to the church's rec room where we played pool, foosball, and ran about.  Eventually we ate, danced, and retired to my dad's beach house for dinner.

Sam and Emma were scooped up by Jamie, and we started getting Berry and Duncan to bed.  Joanna and I collapsed soon afterward.

Sunday was very pleasant, basically a continuous breakfast, snack, and lunch with chatting.  It was great hanging out with Seraph, Sadie, and Jenny, which is a rarity these days.  Eventually we made the long drive home, got pizza and Rough Science ready, did homework, and got to bed.

This morning we took all the kids but Sam to school.  Emma ran into her Little French School teacher when we dropped off Duncan.  The schools are so close together that it's easy to drop Emma off afterward.

The only really sad thing these days is that Joanna's 19 year-old cat, Hobbes, is in very bad shape.  Joanna's at the vet with her now, and we may be working through the end-of-life issues for the cat soon.  This summer has been full of weddings and funerals.

Happy birthday Bob!

September 12, 2011 by Robbie in Cortez

Kindergarten Humor

September 11, 2011 by Robbie in Cortez

We have had Oregon weather for the past two days with dark overcast skies and rain. It's been wonderful hearing the the pitter-patter of rain on our aluminum roof. Isabell and I went to Santa Fe to look for clothes for her. It was nice getting out and walking around. Today we will go to Espanola and do a little grocery shopping.

Quick funny Kindergarten story. We just finished reading and one of the activities was to name a part of your body. "What's on your head?" "Hair!" They would respond. So, Anyway here is there response to another question.

Mr. Cortez: "What's under your nose?"

Children: "Boogers!"

Not exactly the response I was looking for, but it was quite funny and I had a good laugh about it!

On the train going north to Portland

September 09, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

On the train going north to Portland. What a great way to travel!

Almost Mocha Friday

September 09, 2011 by Adam in Family

It's been a crazy week of running around, getting kids to assorted schools.  I'm waiting for Joanna to get to work so that I can go get my Friday mocha.  I'm waiting not-so-patiently, but I'm sure it'll be worth it.

Sam started school yesterday, and was pretty exhausted by the end of the day.  He didn't find his buddy Jordan, though he ran into a lot of other people he knew.  A locker was assigned, and Sam got his classes.  I'm not sure I can remember them all, but I think there was math, science, reading, choir, Spanish, health, and something involving making a presentation that he wasn't quite sure of yet.  I may have missed one or two along the way.

Tomorrow dad and Anna get hitched, and it's a whirlwind of driving and moving kids about.  Joanna and I have a date night tonight, then Saturday we pack up Berry and Duncan and take them to the beach, picking Sam and Emma up on the way.  Then there's the ceremony, chatting, eating, and returning Sam and Emma to Judy's beach house.  Sunday we somehow make it home, get the kids again, and hopefully do pizza and Rough Science.  Whew.

Really looking forward to seeing Seraph, Sadie, and Greg.

See you soon!

September 08, 2011 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

We're looking forward to seeing all of you this weekend for our tiny visit. Here's a dreamy picture my friend Tally took while Seraph and I snuck off for a lay down at the farm. Best nap of my life.

First Day of School

September 07, 2011 by Adam in Emma

It was a whirlwind morning today.  We bid farewell to Sam, who had one final day of summer, and headed out to the various schools.  First we dropped off Duncan, who fortunately thought his teacher was pretty, and thus acceptable.  Next we drove the three blocks to Emma's school, and finally we dropped off Berry at hers.

Emma was looking a little flustered, trying to figure out the instructions for their first assignment that were displayed on the overhead.  We all gave her hugs and kisses and let her be.  I'll call her tonight and see how things go.

We left Berry in the care of Barbara, who was Emma's teacher many years ago.  A friend immediately ran up to her, so I think all is good there.

School Tours

September 06, 2011 by Adam in Family

It was quite the long, lovely weekend.  Joanna and I snuck out for a exciting date night of dinner and food shopping at Market of Choice.  Jen watched Berry and Duncan, and was given a house tour.  It was quite pleasant.

I got the kids Saturday morning and stuffed them full of pancakes.  Emma and I then went to the library and picked up an inflatable pool that was 50% off at Rite Aid.  I soon filled it and the pool became the central activity for all the kids over the weekend.  Even Sam got in the pool, once each day, though always wearing full clothes.  We set it up in front of the swings, so he'd swing into it repeatedly.  Everyone else got in eventually, even Joanna.  It was loads of fun.

Joanna worked her fingers to the bone canning plums and peaches.  She also cooked tons of dinners.  Saturday was pizza and Rough Science.  Sunday was family dinner, with my mom and Hanni showing up.  Monday we grilled meat and tofu.

Otherwise we hung out and did very little of importance.  Sam and I built the humanoid robot.  Emma, Sam, and I played D&D.  Kids played together.  Life was good.

Today was the school tours of the three younger kids.  I met up with Jamie and Emma and we went over to Edgewood.  Emma's teacher is quite nice, and she's sitting fairly close to her best friends Kate and Daniel.  The three of them played on the playground while we chatted with Kate's dad Tom.

I then dropped off Emma and Jamie, and ran over to Duncan's open house at Charlemagne.  We met his teacher, I ran into assorted Eugenenians, and returned home.  Tomorrow's the big day for the three of them, and Sam starts Thursday.  And so it begins.

Back to the daily grind

September 06, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Well, we had a golden opportunity of a 3 day weekend without Isabell and no work!  (Isabell went to the Four Corners Folk Festival with friends)  What you may ask did we do with our exciting time?  Not much!  Robbie had a cold last week, and by Thursday it hit me with a vengence.  Although the Nyquil allowed (forced) us to sleep in, we spent a lot of the weekend running errands and blowing our noses. 

 On an up note, we picked up a bushel of green chile from our friends farm, and for a little extra they roasted it for us.  Robbie and I then spent 3 hours peeling, seeding, chopping and bagging the chile.  Most of it went right in the freezer, except for the cup or so that went into a rockin green chile mac & cheese.  Perfect comfort food!

On a down note, we went up to Taos on Monday, and while heading out of town decided to drive in to the Ford dealership to look a the sticker prices on a couple of cars.  We weren't sure if they were open, but one of the gates was partially open, so we figured we'd just drive in really quick to check out the prices.  Unfortunately the low gate swang back a little and Robbie ran into it.  While there's not much outward damage, the radiator got a crack.  After a few hours getting it towed down to Espanola (buy a very nice company, who was actually closed, but took care of us and gave us a ride all the way home) we got my car and picked up Isa.  Thank goodness insurance will cover most everything including the towing and rental car!  It was a good reminder of why we should never attempt to go anywhere on a holiday, when everything is closed.

I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone this weekend.  I'm hoping all the green chile stew I'm making will blow the cold away and you won't have to avoid me like the plague!


Labor Day Weekend

September 06, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

We had a lovely weekend - Friends here for dinner on Friday evening, and we went off to watch the Ducks on Saturday night on bigscreen. Glad to have a support group for that experience. Sunday, Dez came over and worked like a trooper out back. It looks much better, though there's a little to finish. Bob, he and I went to see Conan in 3D, quite possibly the worse movie ever made. The funny thing is that I took Adam and Mike Hackett to the first Conan, and thought it was a pretty okay movie. Yesterday I had a real treat. Emma wanted to work and earn some money, so she washed the big car, the Isuzu, and some flowers.

Then, as we had promised ourselves, we went to PF Chang's for a girls' lunch. Emma charms the socks off everyone, and is nice, to boot. I hope we can get the cousins together next summer - what would everyone think about a Yellowstone trip? It would be fun if Josh could come along. We'd have enough adults to help with Duncan and Berry.

I think that everyone's plans for next weekend are coming together.

Love, Mom, gma, Sue



September 05, 2011 by Adam in Sam

Sam and I spent a couple hours assembling a Mindstorms robot today.  Joanna remarked that she hasn't seen Sam this excited for a long while.  He's now writing programs for his robot, getting it to dance and respond to sensors.  It's been loads of fun.

Spam, spam, spam

September 03, 2011 by Adam in Adam's Projects

Okay, the comment spam is starting to annoy me.  I added a secret question if you're not logged in.  If you can't figure it out, e-mail me and I'll give you a hint.

Deus Ex

September 02, 2011 by Adam in Adam's Games

I'm enjoying Deus Ex, turning into a little hacker/sneaky person.  I continue being a pacifist as much as possible, defeating my first boss by repeatedly shocking him with a taser.  It's fun getting into a game again, and I've actually had a few hours over the last few days, which feels very luxurious.

I'm also enjoying the conspiracy theory background.  Evidently F.E.M.A. turns into some shadowy government group in the future.

Mocha Friday

September 02, 2011 by Adam in Family

Okay, I don't have my mocha yet.  I'm still waiting to head into work and drink deep of that delicious elixir.

It's the end of summer and Labor Day weekend looms ahead.  Joanna is going to a winery with her department, while I work away until late afternoon.  There are no big plans this weekend.  I want to hang out with kids and maybe make some jam.

Last night we went over to dinner at Joanna's ex-coworker Linda, who is also the grandmother of Bella, Duncan's "girlfriend."  It's a small town.  She was a longtime vegetarian, so there was excellent farm food and Linda told tales of her hippie days from long past.  Good times.

Midweek Update

September 01, 2011 by Adam in Family

I'm crazy busy at work.  Plus this website is getting blocked from work, which is vaguely annoying.  There are ways around it, but still.

Feeling somewhat ready for the start of school.  I have all the school supplies ready.  Emma's old teacher, Barbara, is teaching Berry next year.  Jamie and I mostly have a kid schedule worked out, though we're stuck on where Emma will be on Sunday nights.  We confirmed that Jen will be watching kids after school.  I really like her and she had great references.

Back to my endless emails . . .

Three Days in Newport

August 30, 2011 by Adam in Family

We're back at work after three days in Newport.  It felt a little on the busy side, though I think the kids had a pretty good time.  There were those fun moments, such as the aquarium.  I also got to finish a book for the first time in ages, Leviathan, though it was admittedly in the juvenile fiction category.



Friday night Joanna and I went to the Eugene Celebration.  My favorite part was the art exhibits, including this one crazy contraption that dispensed brandy and played DVDs.  It was very Steampunk.  I think Joanna liked the chocolate-dipped ice cream, and we both had 70's music stuck in our heads from some cover band that was playing.



Saturday was our epic trip, stopping briefly by the beach before a night of pizza and Rough Science.  Doctor Who was watched after little kids went to bed.  The next day we went to Newport for the aquarium, and my dad and Anna came over for dinner.  They were quite welcome, especially with all the crab they brought over.  Yesterday we returned, stopping in Yachats to eat and play on the beach.

Emma's all signed up at Edgewood and has Kate and Daniel in her class, which is great.  She seems very excited.

 Life goes on.

We made it

August 29, 2011 by Greg in Sadie & Greg

Well, we made it through. In the end, we were far enough inland that the storm rained itself out by the afternoon, though the wind kept up. We lost power for about 5 hours, but luckily we were able to forage for nuts and berries in the woods to survive. And now it's a beautiful, sunny, 75° day for the cleanup crews trying to restore everyone else's power. 

How long can you tread water?

August 28, 2011 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

In all this preparedness, we filled the tub with water last night so I can't take a shower. But I can always go outside with a bar of soap. 

It's started to drizzle here...

August 27, 2011 by Greg in Sadie & Greg

It's started to drizzle here in our part of MA, though the weather says it's not really Irene yet. But we've picked up our CSA and are preparing to go to the grocery store next. We're treating this like any other natural disaster around here, carefully adhering to the suggestions of the local French Toast Alert System. http://www.universalhub.com/french-toast 

So we're safe for now and as long as the water holds out. Maybe it's just hubris, but we've already survived a tornado and an earthquake so far this year so a hurricane isn't too scary. We'll get ruined like we're supposed to by a Nor'Easter come this winter I'm sure. But we'll post again in a day or so when the storm has blown through.


August 26, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Hey Sadie & Greg!  I'm sure it will just be a crappy storm with lots of rain by the time it reaches you, but would you please post to let us all know that you're ok in MA?

Mango Mocha Friday

August 26, 2011 by Adam in Family

Emma has been loving the mangos as of late.  This morning she sleepily asked for breakfast and I offered them up.  Soon enough she was gobbling up a mango and watching H2O on Netflix.  The show involves teenage Australian girls who turn into mermaids, and she's been talking with an English accent all week.

Sam played on the computer, often with Matt yesterday.  He continues to love Minecraft and is modding away.  Sam also asked when we could play D&D next, and I suggested he bring his books to the coast this weekend.

Duncan was off with his girlfriend Bella yesterday, meeting at the pool and returning by dinnertime.  Emma went off to play with Kate.  That just left Jessica watching Berry at home after everyone but Sam went swimming in the morning.  Jessica and the kids are feeling a little sad about the end of summer.  I think they'll all miss each other.

Joanna and I are going to the Eugene Celebration tonight, and tomorrow we're heading to the coast.  I'm hoping for a laid-back few days of relaxation.  Next week is the last before school starts, which completely baffles me.  We're in the process of looking for an afternoon nanny, and getting some good applicants.

Minecraft Tech Support

August 26, 2011 by Adam in Adam's Games

I find myself as the Minecraft tech support person for our neighborhood.  Joanna was over at the neighbors' house and their oldest boy, Ben, requested fifteen minutes of assistance with Minecraft.

Duncan asked me to install the Single Player Commands mod, which I did after clearing the table and doing the dishes.  I donned my Minecraft t-shirt given to me by Joanna last year.  Finally I went over to talk with Ben and get his Minecraft mod installed.  This morning I was helping Sam figure out which part of a graphic file corresponded to which part of some custom armor he was making for the game.

I have a little Minecraft creeper box from Duncan's birthday party on my work desk, full of green M&Ms that were given to me as a joke.  A coworker stopped by and announced that his boys were playing Minecraft too.

When I was a kid, I envisioned the future with more spaceships and air cars.  Little did I know that it would involve mining virtual worlds.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

August 26, 2011 by Adam in Adam's Games

Many years ago, in the early days of gaming, a game called Deus Ex came out.  It was surprisingly good at the time, and the backdrop of conspiracy theories and augmented humans was a fascinating one.  This latest game is similar, though even more artistically beautiful and well-polished.  Everything has a Blade Runner feel, and I've been cheerfully sneaking, hacking, and talking my way through the game.

They also support a completely pacifist approach, and I've decided to go with a cyborg pacifist with a penchant for hacking.  My only regret is that I don't have enough time to play these days.  Maybe when school starts, I can take a "video game day" and play for eight hours straight after making myself a mocha and bidding everyone farewell.

Oh, and the main character's name is Adam, which is occasionally amusing.

Sneaky Day Off

August 25, 2011 by Adam in Family

I had a fun mid-week day off, hanging out with the kids.  I bid Joanna farewell as she went off to work, then made dutch babies for everyone.

I had a secret plan to play my new game - Deus Ex: Human Revolution.  I probably got a couple hours in over the course of the day, but it wasn't a giant gaming fest by all means.  Sam really wanted to play D&D with Emma and I, though the first time we played, Emma got bored and fidgety, and Sam stormed off.  We had a philosophical chat about knowing your audience, and connecting emotionally with them.  Later in the afternoon we tried again and Emma got a fairy friend, and the promise of nixies was dangled in front of her.  She had a great time, as did I.

Jessica took Berry, Duncan, and Emma swimming, leaving Sam and I to go for a long walk.  Everyone returned, tired and happy.  I took Sam and Emma to the store to pick up supplies, made some rice, and pizza for the kids for dinner.  My mom stopped by to watch kids while Joanna and I went for a long walk.  We returned with figs and blackberries, taken from community meadows and alleyways.  She was quite happy about her finds.

Sadly Jessica can't watch the kids after school in the fall due to schedule issues.  We've begun the Craigslist search, and hoping for someone equally perky and qualified.

Accidental Three Day Weekend

August 23, 2011 by Adam in Family

The weekend has come and gone.  Friday night Joanna and I went out to dinner and then to a bridal shower at a shoe store for her friend.  I ended up replacing my two-year-old work shoes with a new pair.  Joanna laughingly pointed out that they were identical to my old ones, except a shade darker.  The bridal shower was amusing, me being the only male there.  They made me do the "perfect 50's housewife" game.

The rest of the weekend was a bit of a blur.  On Saturday Emma went to Morgan's birthday party for nearly the entire day.  Joanna took the kids to a pedicure and then a birthday party.  Sam and I went for a really long walk, and played some video games with Matt and Josh.  The evening was our traditional pizza and Rough Science.

I was in a strangely grumpy mood  Sunday morning, perhaps because I was mocha-free and ended up gardening until nearly noon without a shower.  The last of the mulch got spread and everything cleaned up nicely.  Emma went on a cleaning rampage and threw out vast quantities of her old stuff.  "For my next birthday, I want to tell everyone no presents.  I have too much stuff."  I never thought I'd hear Emma say that.

Sam, Emma, and I walked to Supercuts.  Sam and I both got our hair cut short, and stopped by Metropol to feed Sam a very late breakfast.  We returned to let Sam record more Let's Plays, taking Emma to the library to give him some privacy.  I picked up the Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles for Emma, which she absolutely loves.  Dinner was kebabs on the grill, which everyone gobbled up.

Our summer nanny, Jessica, was sick yesterday.  Joanna had already planned on taking the day off, but I stuck around too and somewhat worked from home.  It ended up being a great day.  Sam made a D&D adventure for Emma and I, which was surprisingly fun.  We all went out to Alton Baker Park to explore.  Joanna was a cleaning maniac, taking vast quantities of old toys and things to donate.

This morning we left the house, Duncan playing Plants versus Zombies and Joanna trying hard to pull away from its mesmerizing grasp.  Sam e-mailed me how fun Deus Ex: Human Revolutions is - his goal is to play the game without killing anyone.  I like the idea of my son running around as a pacifist cyborg.

He loves me! He really loves me!

August 23, 2011 by Joanna in Joanna

It's true. Adam has proven his undying love for me. He's given me the ability to post on the family blog. Now I can tell the true tale of the Family of Adam. Bwa hahahaha!


August 22, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Well, we got messed up on our trip days, so we stopped updating where we were.  Now we are all home!

Robbie had a terrible time getting home due to weather delays.  He ended up staying the night in DC and getting home Tuesday morning.  Hanni stayed in ABQ and met him at the airport, where they rented a car for the week.  Isa and I drove and drove and made it home on Saturday.  I don't think I've ever heard Isa so excited to get back to NM before!  We spent Sunday running errands and doing laundry.  Isa also dyed her hair red, which looks amazingly good.  In the evening we all went to the movies - Robie and I to One Day, and Hanni and Isa to Smurfs. 

This morning she and Robbie were off to school early since Isa was so excited to get back to here friends.  Hanni left for the airport shortly after, and now I'm here catching up on work and making very long lists of things to do (easier to make the lists than work through them :) )

Love to all, and more later!

Mocha Friday

August 19, 2011 by Adam in Family

This is a pretty quick update, as I did my lengthy missive yesterday.

Some quick site news - I added Joanna (finally) to the side, and changed Sadie to Sadie & Greg.  Greg can now theoretically post too.

Duncan and Berry have had a fun-filled week.  They're taking swimming lessons and strangely enjoying them.  Berry corrected Jessica's grammar, much to everyone's amusement.  Duncan is learning Scratch and programming his own games.  Though neither fessed up, someone left the bathroom sink running and partially flooded the basement.  Good times.

Joanna's is volunteering at the fair today, and Jessica is taking Berry and Duncan to visit.  I'm stuck working away in my gray cubicle farm.

I stopped by Jamie's house while she was at work to visit with Sam and Emma.  It was really great to just hang out with them, as I hadn't seen them for awhile.  I read the new Amulet book a little to Emma.  Sam showed me his From Dust game.  Emma wanted to come home with me, which was sad and sweet.  I can't wait to have them back tomorrow morning.

Last night we watched The Time Traveler's Wife, which was just as wonderful and sad as the book.  I think I'll put it on the tablet for Sam to watch, even though it's really a romance (don't tell him).

Midweek Madness

August 18, 2011 by Adam in Family

I've had a mocha the last couple days, as reentry into the normal routine has been a little rough.

Tuesday night I was wiped out.  I'd talked about seeing Sam early, but it fell through, and fell through again for last night.  On the plus side, I'm spending a lot of time with all the kids next week, and am taking both Wednesday and the following Monday off.  Things to look forward to.

Yesterday I left work a little early and met with Jamie and the kids, trying to sort things out.  We have a tentative Fall schedule, though there's some debate about Emma going to Jamie's Sunday night or Monday morning.  Emma's going to Edgewood for sure.  We're trying to nail down Christmas vacations.  It wasn't perfect, and we both ended up a little unhappy with the outcome, but I suppose that's what negotiation is all about.  Emma did really miss me, though, and has been wanting to come over.  I'm really looking forward to next week, where they're staying Wednesday through Tuesday, with a beach trip and a couple days off in there.

Last night I chatted for a long while with Sam over the computer.  I've been missing him, as I only saw him briefly yesterday.  We talked about his latest game From Dust, and he showed off his Minecraft texture pack over Skype.  I look forward to seeing him more soon.

Tonight should be low-key.  I have nothing planned, and might end up doing some plumbing work I put off, or maybe spread some mulch around the yard.  Tomorrow night Joanna is taking me to a bridal shower for a coworker at a shoe store.  Saturday morning I have kiddos to play with, and Emma goes to Morgan's birthday in the afternoon.

After the party is over

August 17, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

Well, one of my Continental perks is a once a year coupon for the Continental lounge at various airports, one of which is San Francisco, where Bob and I are now. I could certainly get used to living beyond my means here in this wood paneled peace and quiet.

Sadie and Greg fulfilled their goal of creating an instant community, with a lot of help from Scott, Lisa and the rest of the Caswell family. It was really a wonderful three days - no glitches, a finite number of meltdowns, good weather - the bride was beautiful and the groom all round above average.  I enjoyed meeting all the Caswell family, some of whom I had already met, and it was wonderful to see all Sadie's friends. Anna had come all the way from San Diego, and it was fun to see friends from all the eras of her east-coast time, from Smith to Western Massachusetts. It was fun to hear, even quickly, about her new job. Oh, and the kids were great!

I want to say a few kind words about Bob. In spite of his sometimes excruciating headaches, he managed to be helpful and good humored. He hauled people around, carried bags, and cleaned up tables, all the while remaining cheerful. I hope you kids will give him a giant hug the next time you see him.


Seasoned Traveler

August 17, 2011 by Adam in Emma

Emma was truly great on the trip to Sadie's wedding.  The plane rides were grueling and long, but she managed reasonably well.  When she woke me up when I tried to sleep, she apologized later.  Only a couple times did I get the "how much further?" question.  More often than not, she was cheerful and pleasant and I'd be happy to travel with her again.

She had a great time on the trip, and the farm was the perfect place for an eight year-old to be.  Frogs, butterflies, and grasshoppers were caught.  She picked carrots and ate them raw.

Emma had a great time with her cousins, especially Isa.  The two of them look so much alike these days, and they were both into very similar things.  Isa thought it would be a fine idea for her to come visit one summer and hang out more with Emma.

On the last day of the trip, she ate lobster in Portland, Maine, and then later ate corn chowder in the San Francisco airport.  She seems like such a seasoned traveler to me now.

Wrapping things Up

August 15, 2011 by Adam in Family

We woke up somewhat early.  Isa stayed the night and occasionally tried to push Emma's nose off while she wiggled about.  Then it was off to the farm for breakfast, conversation, and cleanup.

Breakfast was quite tasty, and I stuffed myself and drank lots of coffee.  I kept chatting with folks until Emma lured me away with cute requests that I help her catch bugs.  Soon I was armed with a net, stalking butterflies in the garden.  Eventually I bought my freedom and ended up climbing ladders and helping with the disassembly.

There was a tentative plan to make it to the local fair, which had been running annually for almost 200 years.  We didn't get quite organized, however, and ended up eating leftovers for lunch and sticking around until the end.  Eventually we returned to the motel and everyone went swimming for hours, especially Isa and Emma.  I talked with Seraph for a good long while, which was very nice.

For dinner we went to Al's Pizza in a nearby town, and threw Jordan a surprise party.  He was especially cheerful that everyone remembered.  I personally thought the best gift was the Katy Perry magazine that Robbie got him.

We chatted about when we might next get together, and I was pressed about any possible weddings in my future.  It seems the next big gathering will be for my dad and Anna's wedding in just a few weeks.

I got to Skype Joanna as she was putting dinner together, and it was lovely to see her smile.  Duncan then took over and sent me funny messages and emotes until he had to go to dinner.

I'll be nice to see everyone tomorrow, or at least their sleeping figures as we sneak in close to midnight.

Wedding Day

August 14, 2011 by Adam in Family

Greg and Sadie got married.

It was a pleasant day, all around.  We had some blissful sleep in an actual bed, and eventually got a ride out to the farm.  Emma and Isa played while I chatted with Sadie and all her college friends.  Breakfast was oatmeal and five different types of cake.

We stuck around for lunch, sandwiches and egg salad, and ran around the farm.  Emma caught dragonflies, I visited with relatives, and we puttered about.  We headed back to the motel to change into our formal attire, returning in time for picture taking.  It was hot and stuffy, and eventually Emma needed some quiet time in the house.  She played on the phone until the ceremony, which was musical, funny, and short.  It was followed by dancing, and I managed to sneak in some swing dancing with Sadie, my mom, Seraph, and Jenny.

We hung out some more until dinner, when it began to pour down, thunderstorm style.  Fortunately it was done by dessert, and cooled the evening down nicely.  The food was local, fresh, and delicious, with my only regret being that I ate too much and couldn't manage much pie.

As the evening wound down, there was contra dancing in the barn.  Emma, though tired, had a wonderful time with Isa.  My aunt Danica was my partner, and we twirled and exchanged places through a couple songs.  Eventually Emma wore out completely and we headed back to the hotel.

Isa is spending the night, gleefully watching television and enjoying an actual bed after camping off and on the last few weeks.  I'm keeping them up until eleven o'clock so Emma stays on Pacific time.

Tomorrow is brunch with the rest of the farm, and possibly going to the fair in the afternoon.  Supposedly we're doing something for Jordan's birthday as well.

I've been texting Joanna throughout the day, missing her a fair amount.  She sounds a little tired trying to manage Berry and Duncan on her own, though she went food shopping and beat my high score.  It'll be nice to get home.

Happy is the bride...

August 13, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

The old saying is Happy is the bride the sun shines on, and it has dawned a perfectly clear sunny day here in tinytown Maine. It's very pretty, but the economy has hit hard here. Lots of vacant houses. But Bean Farm is lovely, and Scott and Lisa are wonderful hosts. Sadie and Greg really have organized everything and somehow, entertaining 90 people for 3 days does not seem foolish at all. Yayoe and her Friday night crew produced a great burrito dinner last night.

"The Princess Bride" quote along was everything one could want in a theatre experience.

Almost everyone in the world is here, and there have been no transportation crises so far. Everyone except Arthur and his daughter Pam are here at the Canaan Motel - Lohring and Anna, Yayoe, Meg, Dick and Betsy, Ann, Adam and Emma, Jenny and the boys, and Bob and Isa, who are snoozing just inside. I forgot that sleeping with either Emma or Isa is like sleeping with a nice warm, but somewhat wiggly, baby hippo. Danica is here, in the room next to ours with Yayoe.

It has been fun to meet Greg's family, both on his mom's side and his dad's side. Lots of big, funny Caswell guys!

So, my mission today is to iron tablecloths - a simple repetive task I can handle.

Love to Joannah, who is home minding the store.


The Plane To Maine Is Really Rather Lame

August 13, 2011 by Adam in Family

It's been a whirlwind day.  Or night.  Or something.

Thursday was a typical day, going to work and doing normal things.  I left a bit early to get home to Emma, who was dropped off when Jamie went to work.  We packed, made dinner, said our farewells, and headed to the airport.  I did manage to sneak in a little time to leave notes scattered around for Joanna, which were greatly appreciated.

The first plane to Porland was uneventful, though Emma didn't seem particularly tired.  We had a short layover and hopped on the long flight to Newark, New Jersey.  That one was miserable.  There was a big guy next to me who spilled into my seat, and once woke up screaming.  He was generally polite, I guess, if that counts for anything.  Emma didn't sleep a wink, watching videos the whole time.  I managed a couple hours off and on.

Emma was starting to complain of stomach aches and sore muscles, so I was happy she conked out for the three hour layover.  When we got on the hour long flight, she and I both slept.  Robbie was a little late getting us, so we had breakfast at the Portland airport and felt much better.  Eventually we made it to the hotel, said our hellos, and crashed for a couple hours.  We woke up, got some food at the nearby store, and called mom for pickup.

The farm was very pleasant and relaxed.  Emma, Isa, and Jordan had a great time running around together.  I caught up with a bunch of relatives I hadn't seen in years.  We did have one crisis when the frogs the kids caught was being returned to the pond.  Emma dropped it, fell down, and managed to get a half dozen tiny cuts.  It was freaky, but I broke out my calm voice, got everything sorted out, and it turned out to be pretty minimal.  She was playing tag again within fifteen minutes.

Dinner was lovely, Sadie and Greg looked cheerful, and we had a highly entertaining time with the Princess Bride quote-along.  Now we're back at the hotel, getting Emma ready for bed.

Leaving on a Jet Plane

August 11, 2011 by Adam in Family

I'm heading home early today, meeting up with Emma and getting everything ready for our exciting trip tonight.  I might shave and take a shower too, as we'll be traveling overnight and arriving in Maine at 10 o'clock.  I still have no idea who will be picking me up at the airport.  I figure Emma and I will eat breakfast and try calling different people to come get us.


It's been a quiet week, with Sam and Emma leaving Tuesday morning.  I've been sending game news to Sam, and he sent me the entire play Hamlet.  When I asked, he shrugged, and said he just wanted to send something big.


My mom watched Berry and Duncan Tuesday night, and Joanna and I walked over to Off the Waffle for Jenga, Trivial Pursuit, and waffles.  They were delicious, as always.  Last night we had Amber come babysit, and went out to Sweet Cheeks winery for a coworker's retirement party.  I ran into Mary Minniti, who gave her best to Sadie.  Jenny's in town for the birth of a new baby (not hers, but I forget exactly whose).  The winery was very pretty and we had a lovely drive back home.


I'm all packed and feeling fairly ready to go.  All electronic devices are fully charged and loaded with videos.  I want to double-check all of Emma's things, just to make sure we're not missing anything.  Should be a grand adventure.

Today's the Day!

August 10, 2011 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I woke up this morning and realized that this was the day I got to see Seraph. Not to play favorites, but Seraph is like a glowing orb of Awesome tapped from the sweet sweet nectar of the world's only remaining Awesome Spring. She makes me want to build fantastical forest sanctuaries for children so they can someday be a little like Seraph, just for one moment. And honestly, I haven't had a chance to be excited yet. This is the first time. And now it's full-on Christmas morning, pulling apart my stocking and eating oranges to bide my time for the love onslaught.

I also woke up and realized I would need galoshes for the farm, because it's been raining. You may need them, too. 

Piles and Boxes

August 09, 2011 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Greg and I are in the final stretch of packing and will drive to Maine tomorrow morning. We were both juggling so many projects in the last month that it will be nice to abandon robots, evaluations, emails, and capstones for a solid week. Mowing, weeding, and stacking are perfect antidotes to July's frantic driving, typing, and organizing.

One of the more interesting things we've done as a newly wed couple is participate in a study on marriage where we fill out a battery of personality tests, are videotaped discussing a conflict, and spit into a half dozen vials over the course of three hours. Even with the resultant dry mouth, I think we both enjoyed ourselves. Remembering my early job at the Oregon Social Learning Center coding couples' converstions for antisocial behavior, I think of it as giving back to a new generation of undergraduate psychology majors.

Trip Preparation

August 08, 2011 by Adam in Family

The weekend is over, and I'm sadly back at work again.  It was filled with activities, and hard to drag myself away this morning.

I picked up Emma on Friday, eating a quick dinner and driving to the Em's game.  It was Star Wars night, full of storm troopers, jedi, a wookie, Darth Vader, and Princess Leia.  The game itself seemed secondary, with Berry and Duncan staying in the bouncy house, and Emma mostly wanting to eat and visit with Crest friends she ran into.  We made it home, exhausted, and collapsed in bed.

Saturday was more subdued.  I took Emma to the library, and later food shopping.  Berry and Duncan went to a birthday party.  At one point, I hauled all the kids outside to play with magnifying glasses, matches, sparklers, and ice.  They cheerfully set things on fire and made arches out of ice cubes.  There was a solar powered car played with for awhile.  The day wound down with pizza and rough science.

On Sunday, Victoria across the street invited Joanna, Berry, and Duncan to go to the Enchanted Forest.  They had a good time, returning late in the afternoon in time for our monthly family dinner.  I took Emma to Kate's birthday party, where she had a great time.  I drove home, grabbed Sam, and went for a bike ride to eat lunch and visit a gaming store.  That afternoon Emma and I played Dungeons and Dragons Online and then got ready for our dinner.  Joanna cooked pizza on the gas grill, and they turned out really well.

Honni, my mom, and Bob arrived, chatting away in the evening.  Eventually we got all the kids in bed, leaving Sam, Joanna, and I to watch Better Off Ted.  This morning Emma packed herself for the trip, and was busy with Jessica dying her hair purple.

Life is good.

Day 14 Niagra Falls to East NY

August 07, 2011 by Robbie in Cortez

Mocha Friday

August 05, 2011 by Adam in Family

It's busy at work, frantic little issues nipping at my ankles as I try to get to my big projects. On the plus side, I was nominated for some award at work, though who knows if I'll be one of the lucky winners.

The week has generally been pretty quiet.  I took Wednesday off to hang out with the kids.  Sam told me his elaborate zombie dream, we all hung out at cheese park, Magic was played in the basement, and we all played Minecraft until they had to go to their mom's house.

My mom dropped off a bunch of costumes, which Berry pounced upon.  She ran around as a dinosaur all last night.

Tonight we're going to the Em's game, picking up Emma for her first baseball game.  I figure we'll stuff them full of random food, show up for dessert and running about, then leave around halftime. 

This weekend I want to do a bit of gardening as well as get ready for the trip next week.  I'm getting excited.

Day 12 Harrisonburg VA to PA

August 05, 2011 by Robbie in Cortez

Hi, guys

August 04, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

Just wanted to let you know you do have a mom. The last month or so has been so busy! Plus, as always with real life, there is a certain amount of humor abounding. I like that Jordan wants a surprise party. I think that means he knows we're having a party but we aren't supposed to talk about it in front of him.

Also, one of my feather pillows leaked, in the dryer. Feathers absolutely everywhere. A couple days later, I pulled a wad out of my belly-button. Either that, or I'm leaking feathers, too.

I helped Jenny clean out half her garage, and I'm bringing outgrown Hallowe'en costumes for Duncan and Berry. Since they're mostly Jordan's, there's a full complement of dinosaur costumes, from baby dinos to the mighty T-Rex.

Much love to all, Sue/Mom

Day 10 SC to Williamsburg VA

August 03, 2011 by Robbie in Cortez

Day 9 Lenoir NC/ Pisgah National Forest

August 02, 2011 by Robbie in Cortez

Our Fine Legal System

August 02, 2011 by Adam in Sam

Sam announced at the dinner table last night that he got sued.

He's been uploading his Let's Plays, taking video of his playthrough of various games.  It has a long tradition, and you can find endless LPs on the Internet.  He got an e-mail from some UK-based legal group, claiming copyright damages.  Sam, being the savvy person that he is, Googled it and discovered that it was a scam to get ad revenue from his videos.  He filed a counter-claim and hopefully that will be that.

There are aspects of parenting that they don't talk about much in the Internet age.  I think he did just fine.

Baltimore Bound

August 01, 2011 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I'm headed to Baltimore today for a week, then Greg and I will be driving back home for three days and getting back in the car to head north. Twelve more days!

One wedding reminder:

Please use the directions on the wedding website instead of a GPS or Google Maps. These directions accomodate for summer road closures and construction and are the most accurate placement of the Walden Bean Farm. Preparing by pinting out directions, contact information, and the weekend schedule will be immensely helpful for us. 

Day 8 Morning in Savannah then north to NC

August 01, 2011 by Robbie in Cortez

The End of a Three Day Weekend

August 01, 2011 by Adam in Family

It's another beautiful morning, the breeze coming through the front door.  I'm sipping tea and the kids are all asleep.

I eagerly picked up Emma Saturday morning, still in my pajamas.  She's written off ballet, and it became pretty clear she was getting sick.  Joanna made pancakes for us, including absolutely delicious blueberry ones for me.  Emma and I went to the library while Joanna took Duncan and Berry went on errands.  I kept Emma on Advil, which generally improved her mood.  We went to cheese park, taking the Track Ball thingies that I got for Duncan's birthday.  The kids ran through the sprinklers.  Sam and Joanna got tuckered out launching the ball back and forth.  Eventually we went home, Emma and I got pizza, and we ate it and watched Rough Science.

At some point during the day, though, Joanna made a comment about me never finishing the compost bin.  So, after a tasty breakfast of eggs, toast, bacon, and espresso, I dove into the scrap lumber. 

It all came together beautifully.  There were plenty of 2x4s and 4x4s, I found concrete post holders I brought from Joanna's over a year ago, and there was a scrap bit of concrete that made a nice stabilizing base.  I broke out my great-grandfather's saw, dug holes, screwed boards together, disassembled the unused compost tumbler, and made a lovely three-sectioned compost bin.

Joanna kept supplying me with iced tea through the hot day, and fed me lunch.  We took the younger kids off to True Value to get chicken wire, then returned to put it up.  I collapsed in happy exhaustion and we got together to play Minecraft for a good hour or so.  Eventually I pulled myself away to hook up the new gas grill and help with dinner.  Joanna fixed up a tasty bit of burgers and potato salad, as well as preparing enchilada's for tonight's dinner.

As the evening wrapped up, Emma and I lay in the hammock while Berry played in the sprinkler.  We got kids to bed and Sam, Joanna, and I laughed away at Modern Family.  It was a lovely summer night.

Day 7 Savannah GA

July 31, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Day 6 Leaving Clanton AL for Savannah GA

July 30, 2011 by Robbie in Cortez

Mocha Friday

July 29, 2011 by Adam in Family

It's Friday, I made my own mocha, and we didn't make it to the Enchanted Forest as planned.

Stepping back a few days, we've generally had quiet evenings together.  Last night Joanna ended up denting the minivan as well as breaking the rear door handle in an unrelated incident.  Fortunately some guy on the Internet had a page on fixing it, so I disassembled the rear door, removed the handle, drilled a hole through the broken part, and carefully screwed them together.  Needless to say, I felt particularly bad ass.

I made gluten-free dutch babies for breakfast, which was generally well received.  Afterward we were getting ready to go when Berry had a meltdown, repeatedly hit Duncan, and was sent to her room for a long while.  Eventually we opted for a picnic lunch at Hendrick's Park.  It was lovely and beautiful and the kids were well behaved.

This afternoon Sadie Skyped as she needed someone to show off her wedding dress to.  It had just come in the mail and she immediately tried it on, but had no one to show it off to as Greg is off teaching robots to kids far away.  We cheered each other up, laughed tremendously, and I was once again reminded of just how awesome my sister is.

Tonight Joanna and I are going out to see a comedy at the Very Little Theater, strangely called Dead Man's Cell Phone.  There's a birthday party immediately before then for Berry.  Tomorrow I get to fetch Sam and Emma, who I'm missing very much.  Life goes on.

Day 5 Leaving New Orleans into Mississippi

July 29, 2011 by Robbie in Cortez

Day 4 New Orleans

July 28, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Hello all!  We walked down Burbon Street last night, and I think Isa and Robbie had a little culture shock :)  It's sort of like Old Town Portland with open containers!

This morning we got up and walked to the Cafe du Monde for coffee and biengetts (?).  We strolled along some of the streets, but Isa was having a lot of problems with the heat.  She and I headed back to the hotel, and Robbie continued exploring.  I think we'll take some time to cool off and then head out again.

Sadie, I worry that Robbie and Isabell will get tired of all my comments starting with "when Sadie and I were on our trip..."  We're really excited to see you all!  Hogs & Quiches to all of you!!

Day 3

July 27, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Hello all!  We made it to New Orleans, where we're splurging and staying at a hotel near the French Quarter.  It's muggy and overcast, but we're looking forward to exploring.  We'll be here for 2 nights, and Isa is looking forward to a ghost tour tomorrow night!

Day 3 Leaving Texas today. Amennnn!

July 27, 2011 by Robbie in Cortez

So Many Birthdays

July 26, 2011 by Adam in Family

The weekend has wrapped up, as has Monday.  It was a whirlwind, and coming in to work has been strangely relaxing by comparison.

Friday night Joanna and I went to Oakway Mall where we had dinner, shopped at Old Navy, and picked up a few deals at the slowly liquidating Borders bookstore.  I ended up with a few shirts and pants to replace my aging set of work clothes.

Saturday started off a bit bumpy.  Emma wasn't feeling well, decided she didn't want to take ballet, the microwave broke, and I was in a bit of a grumpy mood.  Eventually I ended up going rafting with Sam and Emma, which strangely lifted my spirits.  Emma basically rafted the entire time, Sam complained, and I enjoyed the scenery.

That evening Joanna went off to work at Winetasia, so after shopping with Emma, we did pizza and Rough Science, then I got all the kids to bed.  Sam and I watched a zombie love story from Germany, and Joanna arrived late that night.

Sunday was productive, and I rushed off to buy a gas grill on Clearance, replace the microwave, and get ready for the Minecraft-themed birthday party for Duncan.  It was a cheerful mad house, with a ton of kids.  Sam and Emma were initially quite leery, then seemed to enjoy it towards the end.

A couple hours later, we did a combined dinner/birthday for my mom and I.  The usual suspects showed up, along with Dave, Kirsten, Josh, and Ezra who I hadn't seen in a long while.  That baby sure is cute and they seem to be doing surprisingly well.  We had a great "make your own rice bowl or burrito" dinner, and we collapsed to bed afterward.

Yesterday was go-live day at work, and strangely all my stuff went surprisingly well.  Later that night we made pizza, played Apples-to-Apples, and Sam, Joanna, and I watched the Adjustment Bureau.

So now Sam and Emma are off at their mom's house.  I have plumbing projects to work on, and landscaping to do.  The plan is to take this Friday off to take Berry and Duncan to the Enchanted Forest.  Emma and I are getting excited for the Maine trip.  All is well.

Day 2 leaving fort stockton, texas

July 26, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Weekend in Canaan

July 26, 2011 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I spent the weekend in Canaan helping Scott prepare the farm for the August event. I can almost feel my shoulders again after cleaning the barn, mowing the field, pulling garlic, painting solar showers, and generally trying to be useful. It was just another weekend for the farm folks, and boy have they earned their biceps. In the coming weeks, planning will go from distant logistics to putting out fires and ironing out unconsidered details. On top of job searching, volunteering with tornado recovery, and visiting Baltimore for a week, I'm feeling a bit stretched. Hopefully all the task delegation will make the actual three days in August relaxing. And there's always the honeymoon. 

Mocha Friday

July 22, 2011 by Adam in Family

My mocha is long gone and I'm knee-deep in getting ready for a massive Monday go-live for a multi-million dollar system.  Last minute changes are happening, and it's a little exciting.  Still, I think I'm ready to go with my little piece of the puzzle.

It's been pretty quiet the last couple of days without Sam and Emma about.  Jessica took Berry and Duncan on several adventures - picking berries, making Flubber, Karate, and assorted arts and crafts.  Today she's taking them to Amazon Pool for a dry run (no pun intended).  If all goes well, maybe Jessica can take everyone on Monday.  Joanna and I watched a couple cute romantic comedies after kids got to bed, and I actually got to sit down and play a bit on the computer.  Sam called wanting help with his movie making.  He's gotten into Let's Plays (LPs), making videos of himself playing various games.

Tonight Joanna and I are going out to dinner and shopping.  It's her half birthday today, though I sadly didn't get organized to bake her a half birthday cake.  Tomorrow I take Emma to ballet, which she's been enjoying.  Joanna's working Saturday night.  I'd love to take kids rafting since the weather is so nice.  Sunday is our big family/birthday dinner.  Dave, Kirsten, Josh, and Ezra are coming over too, which should be neat.

Life's busy and good, as usual.

Birthday Week

July 20, 2011 by Adam in Family

It's Birthday Week in the Miller-Bartlett household, which I've compared to Shark Week on the Discovery channel, but with slightly less bloodshed.

I had a lovely birthday yesterday.  In the morning I had breakfast at the Glenwood with my mom.  The kids all made me a banner, with even Sam helping pitch in to make it.  I got all sorts of fun goodies, some of which I've already taken to work to play with or proudly display.

Jessica has been watching the kids as part of the normal routine now that everyone is back from vacation.  I'm really appreciating all her help.  I came home early to make crepes and watched her handle Berry's meltdown brilliantly.  She even put away the dishes yesterday.

The younger kids went to the raptor center and are all excited about sponsoring an owl.  Emma's doing work for chore money to help raise some of the $65 for a Western Screech Owl.  I think all three may pitch in to get their name on a plaque.

Today is Duncan's birthday, and he opened a few presents this morning.  I'm slightly jealous that I had to go into work and couldn't play with Shrinky Dinks and Trac Balls.

This Sunday night we're having another birthday dinner for myself and my mom.  Should be fun.


July 20, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy birthday big brother!!  We can't wait to see you in August and toast to you properly!

Happiest Birthdays!

July 19, 2011 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Adam, I hope you and Duncan have a perfect day!

Science Sunday

July 18, 2011 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work, frantically going through all my work after being gone on Friday.  Saturday was a bit rough, with everyone adjusting to a full house once again.  We ended up at the play and spray at Washington Park and had a good time.  Fortunately the day wrapped up with The Importance of Being Earnest, which Sam really enjoyed.

Sunday was low-key and full of science.  I wrote up this long list of things we could all do, and Emma came up with the idea of doing an egg drop.  Everyone loved it, making their egg-protecting devices out of paper and a balloon, and then dropping it off the balcony.  Emma made a movie.  Duncan made a book.  We created a dramatic incendiary device out of sparklers.  Joanna went through her mom's stuff and tidied up the bedroom, discovering interesting letters along the way.  Everyone had a good time.

Tomorrow's my birthday, and the day after is Duncan's.  Next weekend is the Minecraft-themed formal party, and Sunday night is a dinner for my mom and I.  Good times.

House sitters

July 18, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Arggg!  All of our house sitters are falling through!  Anyone know anyone who wants to vacation for 3 weeks in New Mexico???


July 17, 2011 by Adam in Emma

Emma made a film of Hobbes, our cat, this morning.

Wild weeks of traveling

July 17, 2011 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

In the last two weeks, I've reunited with Greg at a Providence wedding, spent time in the Northern Berkshires with a five and seven year old, acted like a seven year old at the Boston Museum of Science, and celebrated a friend's 30th birthday party. I got a wicked sunburn and picked up a consulting gig. Greg is doing well in Baltimore, and I'm going to be with him there for a week at the beginning of next month. We've spent half of our 8 weeks of married life apart. Looking forward to remedying that for good in 14 days- a banjo is lonely company to keep.

Full House

July 16, 2011 by Adam in Family

We're running with a full house again.  Berry, Duncan, and Emma are playing Mario Party together.  I think she missed them more than expected, as Emma kept trying to get everyone to play with Barbies together.  Sam's more subdued, but smiled at Berry's mischevious antics at dinner last night.

Yesterday was relatively low-key.  I did laundry and played with kids, taking Sam and Emma to campus for a walkabout.  We ended up at Emerald City Comics, where the owner was the same person as when I was going to college.  Emma was mesmerized by the anime, and bought one with her spending money.  I got Sam a copy of the Zombie Survival Guide, to replace the one he let a friend borrow, who ended up throwing up on it.  Must have been a good book.

I mixed up the time Joanna would arrive, but managed to get there only a few minutes late.  Duncan bonked his head badly while playing in the airport, but he was fine on his arrival.  Both kids seemed tired, but we got them to bed at the normal hour.  Today we have endless ballet lessons this morning, and Duncan has a birthday party in the afternoon.  I'll hopefully get everyone outside to run around, at least a little.

Contact Information

July 15, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Hello all!  We've spent the last 2 weeks moving to the new house.  It's been crazy and tiring, but we're finally getting settled in.  We were excitedly waiting for the DSL to get hooked up this morning, when the service guy discovered that the phone line had been shredded when they graded the road.  They got in a temporary line, but it will be 1-2 weeks before the new burried line is in.  Now we will have REAL highspeed internet, yeah!! 

Our new mailing address is: PO Box 805, Chimayo, NM 87522

Our physical address is: 29 Plaza del Cerro, Chimayo, NM  87522

Our new phone number is: 505-351-2360 (we have to go buy a new phone, so don't call us yet!).  We still have our cell phones, but service is sketchy.

As soon as we're a little more organized I'll get some photos posted!  Hugs to all.


Flying Solo

July 14, 2011 by Adam in Family

I had the house to myself last night, a rare enough occasion that I can't remember the last time it happened.  It was fairly uneventful, painting lawn chairs, doing laundry, cleaning up, and relaxing a bit.  Sam and I tried to play coop games together, but he forgot his microphone and his new headset hasn't arrived yet.  Fortunately I'm picking up both he and Emma this afternoon.

Joanna made it safely to Rochester after an uneventful flight.  I think she was pretty tuckered out by the end of it.  She's visiting friends and picking up the kids tomorrow for the flight back.  It'll be nice to see everyone.

I'm taking tomorrow off work, so I'm hoping for a pleasant three days off.  Next week is both Duncan's birthday and my own.  Duncan's getting an elaborate Minecraft-themed birthday next weekend.  Hopefully Joanna can get the piñata finished by then.

Lincoln City, Country Fair

July 11, 2011 by Adam in Family

I can't believe almost an entire week has passed.  It was hard getting to work today, after four days away from work.  It's amazing how luxurious hanging out at the coast with Joanna was, exploring shops, and going on hikes.

On Wednesday we drove to Lincoln City, stopped by Nearly Normal's Gonzo Cuisine in Corvallis, dropped things off at my dad's house, and went for a walk on the beach.  It was amazingly warm, and kids were running around in bathing suits.  Joanna scattered some of the shells her mom had collected in Florida, as we had thousands of them.  I think Joanna secretly enjoyed confusing any shell collectors that might wander by.

The next day we went for a long hike to cross a massive suspension bridge and see some falls, then drove back into town to have dinner with my dad.  Eventually we packed up, stopped in Newport to shop a little, and drove home.  The kids really wanted to come over that night, but we sadly weren't quite ready for them.

Saturday I took Emma to ballet and snuck off to the library.  It turns out she's advanced enough that she's switching to Ballet 2 next week.  Her teacher said she had focus.  I played with the kids a bit, and then took Emma shopping, returning with pizza.  Sadly no Mythbusters, but we substituted with a star trek episode.

Sunday we woke up early and went to the Country Fair.  Sam stayed home, as it wasn't really his thing, but the rest of us had a great time.  My favorite part was all the crazy costumes and the magic and juggling acts.  Emma really liked the food.  It was the perfect time to go, and we returned early in the afternoon to take it easy for the rest of the day.

There's a weird week ahead of us.  Jessica is watching the kids Monday and Wednesday.  Joanna goes to the airport Wednesday morning and returns with Duncan and Berry on Friday.  I'll be all on my on Wednesday night, which is a weird and rare event.  Birthdays are coming up, and then there's the trip to Maine next month.  Busy summer.

4th of July Weekend

July 05, 2011 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work after a pleasant three-day weekend.  Sam and Emma are off at their mom's, and Joanna and I have four rare days without children.

Joanna and I drove up to Junction City Friday night to watch Crazy About You, a local play in a tiny theater with very enthusiastic actors.  It was a fun drive, and they managed to fit us in despite our lack of reservations.

Saturday morning I took Emma to ballet, where she had a great time.  I chatted with some of the ballet moms and it turns out I work with them and one of them knew me well.  Joanna finished up the estate sale, Sam returned, and we settled into a quiet evening of pizza and Mythbusters.

On Sunday Emma had a lengthy play date with Kate, while Sam, Joanna, and I hiked to the top of Spencer's Butte.  Joanna returned home to turn off the rice once we arrived, hiked to the top using the steep path, and met us at the top.  We turned around, got Emma, and whipped up a family dinner for the evening.

I took Sam and Emma rafting on Monday, and then we all went over to Jenny's for a BBQ.  After an afternoon of pruning and gardening, Joanna managed to relax in the hot tub with a piña colada.  Emma swam, there was jumping on the trampoline, and we all returned home.  Emma went to bed early, but Joanna and I lay in bed watching fireworks out the window.  It was amazing how many there were in the neighborhood, lighting up the sky.


The Kuramitsu Endowed Chair

July 04, 2011 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

A little special something for our benevolent benefactor of the triple deluxe toilets.

Marrying Sam

July 04, 2011 by Adam in Family

Sam and I both picked up Fable 3, which is excessively silly adventurous fun.  Sam basically finished the game, but you can play cooperatively with another player, so he joined my world.  Deciding he wanted to try and get past a magic door, he declared that we should have a child, and that was the solution to the puzzle.  So, he walked us through getting married, and the (fortunately) non-graphic child creation process.  Now we're just waiting for Max Danger Miller to grow up enough to lead to the door.

I'm the tall girl in the pirate outfit.  Sam's the one in the crown.

Oedipus would have been proud.

Dungeoneering with Little Girls

July 03, 2011 by Adam in Adam's Games

Emma and I played a bit of Dungeons and Dragons Online, which went free-to-play quite awhile ago.  For free, it's pretty awesome and is strangely a great game for Emma and I.  We chat, we laugh, and we vanquish evil.

Sam picked up Fable 3 in the latest Steam sale, putting in some yardwork to earn enough to get it.  I'll probably pick it up too, as it has co-op capabilities.  I'm slowly finishing up Witcher 2, which is pretty good, though I'm ready for it to be finished soon.

Mocha Friday

July 01, 2011 by Adam in Family

I woke up in the middle of the night with bad dreams, something about zombies or werewolves.  My overly obvious subconscious seems to be informing me that life's a little stressful.

Kevin, Berry and Duncan's dad, flew in yesterday.  Joanna went out to dinner with them, and after his allergic reaction, epipen use, and call to 911, the kids got dropped off and Joanna took Kevin to get a new epipen and then dropped him off at a friend's house.  I gave kids a bath and ready for bed, with Joanna returning to finish packing and getting ready for today's estate sale.

Yesterday Sam sent me an e-mail saying that his mom ruined his summer, without really explaining why.  Jamie called to say what was going on.  Evidently Sam's voice chatting over the computer is loud, and so she made a "no talking after 9 p.m." rule, which was very frustrating to him.  We'll see what happens to the proposed 50/50 kid schedule as the summer progresses.

I said goodbye to Berry and Duncan this morning, telling them I'd miss them.  Berry gave me a "bye-bye dada" in her baby voice.  Such strange and interesting times.

Tonight Joanna and I are kid-free, but may just stay home to make mushroom soup and watch Superbad.  I think we're both pretty emotionally exhausted.

Tomorrow I scoop up the kids and take Emma to her first ballet lesson.  The weather is supposed to be smoking hot, so I think I want to try to inflate the raft and hit the water.

My mocha is done, and I have some research on complicated computer things to do.  It was nice coming in at 7 a.m. like the good ol' days, with a tall mocha and a quiet cubicle farm to keep me company.

reunited and it feels so good

July 01, 2011 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Greg has returned for the weekend, and I already feel better. We have some paperwork to get through today, but we'll spend tomorrow picking strawberries and playing Cosmic Encounter with our friends Blaise and Lydia. Seraph just sent the second draft dress, which fits like a glove and is exactly the cut I was hoping for. She's such a superhero for moving, transitioning jobs, and designing a wedding dress, all in the same month. 

Thursday Already

June 30, 2011 by Adam in Family

It's been a wacky week, as often seems to be the case.

On Tuesday, I left work early to go on a tour of Edgewood with Emma and Jamie.  It seems a good school, with relatively small classes and a nice campus.  It did help that we were touring in the summer when things were less busy.  We still haven't decided, but the good news is that Emma will do well no matter where she goes.

Next I took Sam to the dentist, where he was chastised for his brushing technique.  Otherwise, he's doing fairly well.

Poor Joanna has been working really hard all week, getting ready for the estate sale.  We've sold some jewelry, a washing machine, and donated a ton of clothes to Womenspace.  Usually we see each other regularly throughout the day, so I made her chat with me for a half hour after she finished paying her mom's bills.  It'll be nice to get out to the beach next week, just the two of us.

I took Wednesday off to hang out with the kids.  Jessica took the younger kids to see Megamind.  Sam and I played with planes in Minecraft and then went to see the new X-Men movie, with a high-speed chase passing by us on the way.  We returned to find the girls making cookies, and I scooped Emma away to get her ballet outfit.  Dinner was tacos.

Jessica is working out really well, and has a great, calm way with the kids.  It's a tad expensive to hire her for the summer, but I'm glad the kids get all the attention and it's easier to leave the house.

Kevin arrived to take Duncan and Berry to Rochester for two weeks.  Jessica took the kids to the airport to surprise him.  I think Joanna is going to dinner with them to ease the transition, and then Kevin and kids depart in the morning.  It'll be quite the strange experience to have an empty house, something that almost never happens.  Hopefully we can get things cleaned up a bit.  We currently have boxes of photos, decorations, and other odds and ends that have been brought over from Colette's house.

A few moments to relax sound lovely too.


June 30, 2011 by Adam in Emma

Emma's starting up ballet this Saturday.  She's strangely excited.  When we went to pick up her outfit, she insisted on wearing it home and showing it off to Berry and Duncan.  She last tool Ballet when she was four or five, so we'll see how much she remembers.  Her friend Taylor was showing her some ballet moves during recess last school year.

Minecraft Planes

June 30, 2011 by Adam in Adam's Games

Sam and I played with planes in Minecraft today.  The mod was really challenging to set up, but was surprisingly fun to play.  Matt came on later on, and the three of us flew around, mostly getting lost.  We left with a tentative plan to build an airstrip, base, and fly around bombing each other.  Good times.

Each of us put together a video, so you can see it from each of our perspectives.


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Tuesday Already?

June 28, 2011 by Adam in Family

It really started to feel like summer yesterday.  The weather was hot, kids were at home with Jessica, our babysitter, and going to work seemed more of a chore than usual.

Christopher is heading out today, taking a bus to Portland and flying back to France.  Duncan and Berry are leaving Friday this week.  Sam and Emma are going to their mom's Thursday morning.  Joanna's still going through her mom's stuff and won't likely return to work for at least another week.

I think Jessica is working out well, at least for the younger kids.  Sam is still a bit of a challenge, though she somehow managed to bring him along with everyone else to feed ducks.  Sam also went to work for my mom yesterday, hauling things around.  I had to intervene with a phone call, but it all got sorted out.

We've lined up my dad's house to get away next week for a couple days.  It's going to be really strange not having any kids around, which almost never happens.  I might bring the raft along and see if we can paddle around the bay.  Hikes sound lovely as well.  Or just relaxing and being lazy.  It sounds blissful just thinking about it.

Going through Colette's things continues.  We sold the washing machine yesterday, very quickly, though no bites on the car yet.  I'm not sure if we'll be ready for an estate sale by this weekend, but we'll see.

I'm looking forward to Wednesday and taking the day off.  Maybe we can set up the slip-and-slide and have some fun if the weather heats up again.

We're tired

June 28, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

For some reason, Bob and I are really tired out, and we're curled up in bed watching The Illusionist, an animated film by the same film company which made The Triplets of Bellevue

Colette's Memorial Service

June 25, 2011 by Adam in Family

Sam and Emma have returned from Bend.  The younger kids are playing YouTube videos, Christopher is working in the kitchen, and Joanna is chatting with the neighbors in between yard work.  I'm tidying up and getting ready for a grocery store run in preparation for pizza and Mythbusters tonight.

The service for Colette was this morning, almost two hours of preparation, talking, and food afterward.  Joanna and Christopher put together excellent speeches and songs at the last minute.  They were both particularly touching and funny.  A number of Colette's friends spoke, talking about how much she loved her grandkids and kids.  It was a good mix of laughter and tears.

Now we're hanging about, taking it easy.  There are still financial things to sort through, and a surprising amount of stuff to deal with at her house.  I think I'll try and organize some furniture moving tomorrow while we still have Christopher about.

Hanging in there . . .

G'day, all

June 24, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

It's just that I was surprised to realize that Adam is as goofy under stress as we mere mortals are! Much love to all.

Mocha Friday

June 24, 2011 by Adam in Family

I just finished my Friday mocha, working through assorted issues here at work.  I'm not quite into the swing of things, but I'm catching up and dealing with assorted crises.  Joanna's planning on taking a few weeks off to go through her mom's things and take some time to reflect on things.  I think this has all been so fast for everyone, there hasn't been time to think about it at all.

We have Colette's memorial service tomorrow, and Joanna was busy practicing her songs last night.  We were going to have an estate sale this Sunday, but I think that's been pushed back to let Joanna sort through everything.  We've got the car on Craigslist, and are trying to figure out what to do with the Florida house and associated debts.  Christopher leaves Tuesday for Portland.

I've been doing support stuff - cleaning, laundry, dishes, and duties as assigned.  Yesterday I was out power washing, much to mom's amusement when she came to visit.  The patio looks fabulous, though.

Joanna and I did manage to get out a little last night, going for Thai food and a romantic stop at Wal-Mart to get pictures for the service.  Our babysitter Amber was sweet - bringing flowers and refusing to take any money for babysitting.

Duncan and Berry's last day of camp is today.  I think they're ready to stay at home, as they both ended up a little worn out by the fast-paced camp lifestyle.  I've been packing them up and taking them in, letting Joanna sleep in.  Duncan has started playing Portal after getting Joanna's permission, and is so excited he changed his wallpaper from Minecraft to a Portal-themed one.

I Skyped with Sam and Emma earlier in the week, for both fun and telling them of Colette's death.  Emma covered her face with a ball she was playing with, eventually saying "Can we talk about something other than dead people?"  I think it was initially hard for Emma, as she was close with Colette - something I'll probably talk with her off and on over the months ahead.  We chatted about their Bend adventures.  Emma made a new best friend.  Sam's having fun babysitting his baby cousins.  I'm excited to see them this Sunday.

The weather has been absolutely stunning and the garden calls out to me for pruning and puttering.  Maybe we can get outside more this weekend.

The Last 48 Hours

June 22, 2011 by Adam in Family

Yesterday was so busy that I wanted to give a little more detail about what happened the last couple days.

We moved Colette to our house Sunday, as it became apparent her health was getting worse.  Hospice has been wonderful, getting us all the medication and equipment we needed at no cost.  We got her in a hospital bed and shuffled kids around to give Colette her own room.  People started to come by to visit her a last time.  By Monday Colette had become non-responsive and had stopped eating and drinking fluids.

Because of the speed of it all, we ended up having to scramble around to get things done while the power of attorney was still valid.  Joanna and her brother were going to go to the bank Tuesday morning, leaving me to keep an eye on Colette.  Suddenly her breathing changed, and I called them back in as they headed to the car.  We changed plans and Joanna and I made a quick trip to deposit some checks and leave the account closing for later.  By the time we returned, she was fading quickly and passed away quietly.

We had people coming by all day to pay their last respects.  At one point, I thought the EWEB woman checking the meter was coming to visit, though I wasn’t quite sure what the long metal rod was for.  All the narcotics were disposed of in used kitty litter, evidently to dissuade drug addicts.   We picked up Berry and Duncan, told them the news, and they cried when they saw her.  Berry was happy that she didn’t cough anymore.  Eventually we got kids to bed, watched The King’s Speech to get our mind off things, and got some sleep.

Today has been mostly focused on dealing with Colette’s finances and belongings, and Joanna and her brother went to the mortuary.  I managed to cancel her phone service, but Comcast wanted a death certificate.  EWEB put me on hold for five minutes, as they wanted someone who was the executor of the will, which didn’t exist.  Fortunately they got in touch with the owner of the rental who was vacationing in Italy and he was okay getting service switched back to him.

There have been some oddly amusing moments.  We’ve had so much food brought over that we’re inviting people for dinner in order to get some of it eaten.  The table has four different bouquets now, so I’m not sure we’ll have room for anyone to eat.  Joanna’s brother spent a long time entertaining the bank staff reenacting his shark taming techniques.  It’s been a quirky week.

I think tomorrow we’ll get the car ready to sell, finish closing her accounts, and get her house ready for an estate sale.  I’m tentatively planning on going in to work in the morning.  We’ll see if I can make it through the afternoon.

Bonne Nuit

June 21, 2011 by Adam in Family

Colette just passed away, very quietly.  We all had a good cry, got a call from the social worker, and are busy calling everyone to let them know.


Colette Update

June 21, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

Was over at Joanna and Adam's yesterday evening. Adam, Joanna and Christopher are frayed but very organized and functioning well. Colette was in a deep sleep, her physical being gently slowing down and turning off. She didn't appear to be in pain. Hospice had done a good job. The last bits of Colette's paperwork had been done.

I sat with her until about midnight. When I left, the stars were resplendent and the moom glowed an intense yellow.

Colette Update

June 20, 2011 by Adam in Family

I think we're all feeling a little overwhelmed.

Christopher and Joanna brought her mom over yesterday, as we typically do in the afternoons when people are around.  It was pretty clear that she wasn't ever coming back, and was much worse than she'd been the day before.  We brought in a hospital bed for Berry's room, and she spent the night last night.  Colette's been sleeping pretty well, though she was up at 3 a.m.  Joanna was pretty wiped out this morning after taking care of her.

The RN from hospice thought that she had about three more days left.

Sam and Emma went off with Jamie to Bend, so the house will be a little more quiet.  I took Duncan and Berry to their YMCA camp.  Poor Duncan looked on the edge of tears when I dropped him off and sadly explained, "I feel embarrassed."  I felt really bad for him, and introduced him to the bored teenager sitting at the drawing table.  Hopefully he perked up after a little while.  I'll fetch him back in an hour or so.

I'm not sure there's a lot that can be done, except keep Colette comfortable and pain-free.  I'm taking on a support role - cleaning, cooking, watching kids, doing laundry, and all the other boring things.  I left work early.  Joanna finally went off to take a shower.  The oxygen generator whirs away in the background.


June 19, 2011 by Adam in Adam's Games

Our whole family has been playing Minecraft for a long while, but I haven't really had a good mechanism for sharing our adventures.  I did a bit of a test yesterday, with mostly success.  The first bit is Sam, Emma, Duncan, Matt, and I playing on Survival Island.  The second shows a typical scene of clearing an area to build a village.

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Happy Fathers' Day

June 19, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

This is a family of great Dads, including Bob and John and all the other men who are kindly additions to the fam. I am most grateful for all of you. And thanks to Christopher, for being a great son as well as a great Dad.

Father's Day

June 19, 2011 by Adam in Family

I have three of the four kiddos awake and have stolen a few moments to myself after cleaning the kitchen, doing the dishes, sweeping the floor, and making tea and crumpets.  Joanna told me not to let her sleep in too late as she wants to pamper me.  I think I can at least get a breakfast of my choice out of the day.

We're wrapping up a three-day weekend, the days blending together.  Friday was beautiful and sunny.  Joanna spent a lot of the day with her mom, visiting the bank, and doing all the practical things that need to be done for Colette.  I played with kids and kept the house running.  The weather was amazing, so we broke out the kid pool and the younger kids had a great time splashing about.  Yayoe came over to deliver dinner.  Joanna and I went out to Laughing Planet for dinner.  There was a band playing outside that seemed to be a Glee cover band, as they played both Forget You and Bad Romance.

Saturday I took kids to the library, where they were having their Summer Reading program.  Duncan picked up a Captain Underpants book and Berry got the caveman book by the same author that Duncan already had.  She's been carrying it around to her great amusement.  Emma was granted a second book by a kind librarian, and cheerfully got a Warriors book.

It was pretty drizzly, so we ended up playing a lot of Minecraft with Matt.  At one point, I think we had five people on a server, messing around and generally being silly.  I'll try to make a video of it.  I did get the kids outside in the rain, walking to my mom's house to bring in the mail.  I went off to Market of Choice to pick up groceries and pizza.  I had invited Emma to come, she declined and regretted the choice once my cart was half-full.  I ended up talking to her on the phone until I returned to the driveway where she helped me unload the car and get ready for Mythbusters.  Sam, Emma, and I played a bunch of Apples-to-Apples before the start.

Sam and I played a little Grand Theft Auto IV, which we recently discovered multiplayer for.  I hopped in a fire truck and had fun hosing him down and putting out the fires he kept setting.  Ironically, my truck caught on fire and blew up.

And now it is Father's Day.  Happy Father's Day, dad.  Thanks for passing along the ability to focus on odd technical things for hours on end and the love for games.  Plus the laid-back humor thing.  That one has kept me going through quite a hard times.

I'm going to cause it to rain today by planning a BBQ for this evening.  Otherwise the plan is to take it easy, bring Colette over later in the day, and spend as much time with Sam and Emma before they go to Bend for a week.

Happy Father's Day!

June 19, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy Fathers day everyone!  We're really blessed to have so many amazing men in this family.  We love you all!!

Keeping Spirits Up

June 18, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

Right now, Bob and I are in Oakland for the wedding of my goddaughter, Naomi.

We brought along a young man who's a family friend and helping with the cooking, and his culinery gear. We left at 11:50 and got in about 8, which means that Bob, who drove the whole way, had a long, long day.

I was over at Adam and Joanna's the other evening to go over some things with Colette, and was so impressed with everyone in the household, including the kids.

Colette must be so uncomfortable, but as always, she was sweet, loving and very patient with the kids. Berry was our "secretary", and bundled Colette and me up , then crawled up on the couch with us. Colette is so important to their whole family.

Joanna, when I get back, let me see if my former secretary Reta can come help with notarizing documents. Much love to all, mom/sue


Last Day of School

June 16, 2011 by Adam in Family

Sam and Emma have their last day of school today, getting out around noon.  They're going over to Jamie's for the afternoon and then I'll pick them up after work.  I think the last week of school has been pretty laid-back for them.  Sam hasn't had any homework and there was a party in choir on Tuesday.

Joanna took Colette to the oncologist and the news wasn't good.  Her bilirubin levels are high and the estimate was 2-4 weeks of life left, down quite a bit from 3-6 months.  It left everyone in a somber mood and my mom was over yesterday evening trying to frantically sort out financial things with Colette.  We're also getting more equipment and medication - oxygen tanks, wheel chairs, and powerful pain meds.  The good news is that there seems to be a fairly well-established support system and hospice is guiding us through it all.  Colette is also still quite sharp, funny, and charming, entertaining us periodically throughout dinner last night.

I stayed up late last night, picking up Joanna's brother from the train station. Evidently the signals were out, so the train had to stop at each crossing to manually turn on the signals, travel a little forward, and turn them off again.  Christopher ended up coming in around 1 a.m., and I was pretty exhausted when I woke up this morning.

Thank god for espresso.


June 13, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

We had a great time in Santa Fe this weekend.  It was fun to meet new family and eat great food and wine!  Isa would want me to add that anywhere with a swimming pool is perfect!  She unfortunately ended up with a sunburn on Sat, but is recovering quickly.  She even managed to sleep until 10:15 this morning!  Although... that may be because we stayed up late watched episodes of Firefly.

Last Week of School

June 13, 2011 by Adam in Family

The transition to summer is always a strange one.  The kids didn't have homework, babysitters and vacations are lined up for the next few weeks.  Time is being taken off of work.  I think everyone is pretty excited about the summer routine - Sam with his endless computer time and Emma with swimming and reading.

The weekend was a mix of work and play.  Saturday was pretty busy, especially for Joanna.  I took Sam and Emma to the library to pick out a free summer reading book, then went hiking at Hendrick's park.  Joanna returned from ballet and kindergarten graduation, and we all ate lunch together.  Then she was off to check on her mom while we all had some quiet time together.  She seemed to be feeling a little better, getting some rest and a bit more energy.  Hopefully the medication is improving things.

I put Sam to work doing yardwork in exchange for a video game purchase.  Later that day I took Emma food shopping, picked up pizza at Provisions, and we had a normal Pizza and Mythbusters.  Sunday morning was eggs, bacon, toast, and playing.  Evidently it was the best food ever, as Emma finally lost her tooth.  Joanna went to her mom's to visit with hospice.  They're covering all expenses, and can help with wheelchairs, oxygen, and the like.

Duncan and Berry had two birthday parties at gyms, so they returned in the evening pretty wiped out.  Sam, Emma, and I played a ton of board games: Three of a Crime, Apples to Apples, Creationary, Cosmic Encounter, and The Last Night on Earth.  It was great fun, and I was impressed with Emma's ability to hold her own.  We were done with board games at the end, though, and Emma and I played Trine together in co-op mode while Sam played with Matt online.  Eventually we took a break to watch dinner.  After kids went to bed, we finished watching Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, which is a very bizarre and funny show.

A Merrie Companie

June 12, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

Colette, John, Bob and I had a nice dinner on Friday evening. Yayoe called from Hawaii, so we all got to give her a shout-out into John's cell phone. I worry because Colette is looking very frail. But Bob and John were both in fine form, and entertained "us girls" with their witty repartee.

Saturday Post

June 11, 2011 by Adam in Family

It's a quiet afternoon, the sun streaming in through the living room windows.  Soon we'll be off to the store and then fetch some pizza for Pizza and Mythbusters.  Last night everyone but Sam went swimming and had a great time.  We picked up Sam on the way home, with he and I watching a movie while Joanna checked up on her mom.

Colette isn't doing very well, and Joanna's brother is coming over from France this Wednesday.  It'll be good to have the help.  I think we're going to stuff him in the shed, at least for the first night.

Bittersweet Mocha Friday

June 10, 2011 by Adam in Family

I just finished my Friday mocha, feeling exceptionally perky.  It's been a whirlwind week, with Colette's illness and end of school events.

Wednesday night Joanna and I went out to Cosmic Pizza, eating a tasty pizza with gluten-free crust.  Edison choir was there, lots of cute kids singing and hitting various percussion instruments.  We mostly talked about Colette, trying to figure out all the things we need to do.

The two big Colette decisions are whether or not she wants to try chemotherapy, and whether or not she'd like to try to travel to France.  At the moment, she doesn't feel up for travel, so it may be that instead Joanna's brother comes here.  Last night, I picked up a big batch of prescriptions, so it may be that some of the more annoying symptoms like fatigue and coughing will clear up.  Mostly we're wanting to figure out what Colette wants to do with what time she has, however long that is, and then do what we can to make it happen.

Everyone seems to be pitching in.  My mom helped with legal issues, and somehow twisted people's arms to get Colette in to Whitebird for some dentistry.  Yayoe has offered great advice and suggestions.  Colette's friends have been helping pick up kids, go grocery shopping, and the like.  Sunday hospice is coming by for a consult to get a sense of what they can do to help.  Joanna has been filling out forms and getting insurance lined up.  It made a huge difference for the prescriptions I picked up last night.

I went home early yesterday as Coyote Kids has ended, and Jamie dropped off Emma.  She was very sweet and cheerful, playing with Layna when she and Maria came by to help Colette pick up Berry and Duncan from school. Later Emma and I went to her school's carnival.  It's probably the last time I'll go to Crest Drive, as Emma's school ends next week and she'll be at another school in the fall.  It was strange, as I've been going there for the last seven years and I have so many memories.  In any case, Emma played with Kate and Daniel, and then spent her last ten minutes eating Phad Thai.

It looks like we're swimming with the kids tonight.  We'll do a library run and pick up free books for whichever kid goes.  Joanna has kindergarten parties, ballet, meeting hospice, and two birthday parties.  I'll probably do some yard work and spend time with Sam and Emma.  Pizza and Mythbusters will happen in there sometime.

Life, as always, is a strange mix of wonderful and terrible, sad and funny.


June 10, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy birthday to you!  Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday, we love you!  Happy birthday to you!!!!!

Happy Birthday, Sadie!

June 09, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

Many many hugs. Wish you were here. We can't wait to see you. I'll be working on tickets next Monday. Love, yer aging mom

Final Birthday Party

June 09, 2011 by Adam in Emma

Emma had her final birthday party last Sunday.  She had a good time hanging out with her friends, chasing chickens, and being a little wild.

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June 07, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

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June 07, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

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June 07, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek


June 07, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

Hi, I told Sadie I'd send pix of the apartment. We have a nice tenant.

Back to Work

June 06, 2011 by Adam in Family

It's Monday.  As usual, life continues to be good and difficult, happy and sad.

I left work early on Friday to help at home.  I talked to Colette and Joanna, then ended up maniacally cleaning and doing laundry until it was time to get Emma.  We stayed at home, having a quiet night with the kids.

Saturday morning Emma went with me on an errand spree.  We went to Borders to use her gift card that my mom got her.  Emma insisted on buying me a mocha, which was very sweet.  She ended up with a doodle book that she really enjoyed, and had a little extra for another trip sometime in the future.

Next was Metropol for goodies, a hair cut, Down to Earth for weed blocker, Party City for birthday party supplies, and the grocery store before heading home.  Joanna and the kids were off at ballet practice, and I watched them after lunch so that Joanna could go to a baby shower.  Somehow I managed to mow, put down weed blocker, shovel mulch, and clean the house.  That night we went out to watch Berry and Duncan's ballet.  It was fun getting gussied up and the performance was quite fun.

Sunday morning I hung out with kids as usual.  Emma and I did a bit of homework, and she and Joanna made a lemon cake for the party.  Since the weather was so nice, we hung outside doing gardening and puttering about.  I did a quick library run by myself, returning for final party preparations.

The party itself was lots of fun for Emma, and her friends were all very nice.  Duncan got in on the Mario Kart playing.  Berry gobbled up all the hors d'œuvres. Sam arrived and played with Matt and Josh on the computer.  The party guests wandered off.

I took Emma and Sam for a little walk, telling them about Colette's cancer.  They were fairly quiet about it, which was somewhat expected.  Mostly it's a starting point for future conversations.

My mom, Yayoe, Colette, and Bob arrived for dinner.  The grown ups were outside and the younger kids had pizza and Mythbusters.  Sam heaped great praise on Joanna's homemade pizza, which is something I never get.  I guess I have to keep her now.

We wrapped up the night with lots of cleaning and Doctor Who.  Only a week and a half of school to go.


June 05, 2011 by Adam in Family

Emma, Joanna, Collette and I all went down to the Hult center to watch Berry and Duncan's ballet performance.  Theirs was just one small part of a much larger performance that was quite good.  Emma wore her fancy dress and was quite enthralled, despite being pretty long.  Collette bought Berry some fancy roses, which were much appreciated.


June 03, 2011 by Adam in Family

Life is such a strange mix of wonderful and terrible, pleasant and sad.

We've had some strange work news as of late, annoying reorg rumblings that hopefully won't impact me much, but might cause challenges in the future.  Yesterday Lisa died, which continues to be hard for everyone on our team.  Today, Collette got the news of her CAT scan from yesterday, and the results were not good.  We're all still feeling stunned, talking to more doctors and trying to figure out what to do next.  My mom and Yayoe have been very helpful to talk to, and I suspect we'll take them up on their offers to help.

At the same time, Joanna and I had a good time at the vet's club Wednesday night, eating good food and listening to the blues.  The kids have been their usual funny and pleasant selves.  Spring finally arrived with sunny, warm weather.

I took the afternoon off work and cleaned maniacally, thinking as I scrubbed, folded, and picked up.  I'll be getting Emma soon and I think we'll all take it easy tonight.  Lots to think about, and plenty of simple things to appreciate.


June 03, 2011 by Adam in Sam

Sam had his last choir performance last night.

Quick update

June 03, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Our electricity was restored last night, so I am blissfully typing away from home!  The fire is still burning in areas, but the crews are getting it under control.  It was kind of cool to watch the huge planes and helicopters dropping water all day.  Robbie saw them refilling at the monastery's reservoir, and said it was amazing to watch.

Isabell is off to the Four Corners Folk Festival this weekend with Gennys' family, so we're all alone.  I think we'll work on more packing, bleh.


June 03, 2011 by Yayoe in Yayoe

Honolulu bound!

June 03, 2011 by Yayoe in Yayoe

We're ok!

June 02, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

It's been an eventful 24 hours here.  Robbie and I were coming back from Taos yesterday (Isa had stayed at home playing with a friend who lives here too), and about 5 miles from Sipapu we saw smoke, and then large flames up on the ridge.  By the time we got to the highway below the ridge, the fire had jumped the highway.  We made it through just before they closed the road.

When we got home, there was no power, water, or sewer (we have our own water treatment plant at Sipapu, but the pumps are powered by electricity).  It sounds like a power line went down and sparked the blaze. 

It was a little touch and go if we would need to evacuate, but thankfully the wind pushed the blaze west - away from us.  The fire crews have been working nonstop, and the planes were out all morning dropping fire retardent.  So far they contained the fire at the original location (above the Buddhist monastary for those familiar with the area), and are still working on the other side (up the highway towards Taos).  It sounds like 2000+ acres have burned so far.

The crew here picked up 2 large generators from Los Alamos, so we now have power at the main lodge, and the water and sewer are working.  It's been a great excuss to BBQ everything in the freezer, and eat a lot of ice cream!

We'll keep you posted as we get better connection to the internet!  Love to all!!


June 02, 2011 by Adam in Adam

A coworker of mine died last night. 

She's had issues with cancer off and on for eight years, with a long stretch of symptom-free.  Lisa and her husband lived in the San Juan islands in this beautiful house with a movie theater in the basement.  When we went to visit the Bellingham group last year, we visited her and had a wonderful time.  I talked with Lisa a couple weeks ago, thinking all was fine.

The cancer came back quickly, was very aggressive, and she died at home under hospice care.

Our team is pretty shaken up, and it brings back memories of Frank and his cancer almost ten years ago.  I'll be okay, though I'm being somewhat wistful today.

Saved from the tornados

June 01, 2011 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Two tornados touched down in Springfield, where I work, but I missed both. 

Darn deer

June 01, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

Yesterday Bob and I looked out the kitchen window to see a deer, probably one of the twins, now about two, standing in the flower garden polishing off the last of my spring flowers. I stood in my sock feet in the doorway, shouting at him, while he looked at me as though I were daft. Finally Bob, who had shoes on, chased him away.

Memorial Weekend Madness

May 31, 2011 by Adam in Family

Memorial Day weekend has come and gone.  It was fun, busy, productive, relaxing, and occasionally stressful.

We had both kids Friday night, as Emma wanted to hang out after her birthday festivities.  We had cupcakes and presents for the eight year-old girl, along with her take out choice of Tasty Thai.  Emma particularly liked her art kit and fancy dress, which she plans to wear to the wedding.

Emma left on Saturday for Bend, returning Sunday.  Sam managed to weasel his way out of the trip, spending big chunks of his weekend playing online games with his new buddy Matt, who happens to be his second cousin.  Joanna and I took Berry and Duncan to Jerry's to pick up garden supplies.  We put up trellises and weeded, had a play date with Rob and Nick, and did a bit of homework with Sam.

Emma returned Sunday, going to the library with me.  I took everyone for a long walk in the rain, went food shopping, and wrapped up the day with pizza and Mythbusters.  Next was dessert at my mom's, where Emma was treated to Metropol lemon cake to much enjoyment.

I realized this weekend that I'd been making mochas out of decaf, so I switched over and made a real mocha for a change.  Somehow that gave me the strength of a dozen men, so I had three cubic yards of mulch delivered and I wheel barrowed half of it up the hill and spread it around.  Joanna and I are both scratched and bruised, but our front yard looks much nicer.

In the afternoon, Emma wanted to fly kites, so we hauled the two Sam and Emma made last year along with some pinwheels and ran around cheese park until the rain drove us home. 

There were some bumpy parts this weekend.  Joanna and Emma were sick.  Berry was up in the middle of the night.  There were occasional break downs and one toe biting that caused a lengthy time out.  Still, we muddled through and were generally fairly happy.

And we're off!

May 30, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

House inspection at 10am!

8 Year-Old Mocha Friday

May 27, 2011 by Adam in Family

Emma's birthday is today.  She's officially eight years old, though I've been feeling she's that age for quite some time.  Tonight we have a dinner of Tasty Thai and dessert of cupcakes planned for her, exactly what she wished for.  Tonight she and Sam go to Jamie's, who is taking them to Bend for Finn's first birthday party.  I'll see them again on Sunday, which will make for a quiet household.

Last night was Sam's half birthday as well.  We got him pizza and caramel ice cream, along with a little present.  I bought him an Aperature Science hoodie and Portal 2 mouse pad from the Valve store, and he was remarkably excited about them.  The hoodie is now a permanent part of his wardrobe, and the mouse pad is constantly used.  I think I got an "Epic!" out of Sam for the latter.

All the kids are doing much better, though Joanna is now feeling sniffly.  I've somehow managed to dodge this one so far, at least for the most part.  It felt good to get Sam off to school again, and generally caught up with his missing assignments.

I took Emma to Adam's Elementary last night for an ice cream social.  It was a bit of a mad house with kids running around everywhere.  I think Emma's still having problems with the transition, and one of her best friends is going to Edgewood instead of Adam's.  Because of that, she seems to be waffling a bit as to where she wants to go, though it's one of those things that we'll have to figure out this summer.  Last I checked with Jamie, we were settling on Adams as most of the people and teachers she knows will be there.

The rest of the household is doing well.  Duncan was excited about the Minecraft update last night, and he wants to make his own Minecraft videos.  Sam was calling him a genius last night, as he's able to read, type, and do all manner of complicated technical things.  That being said, he's still just five.  When we changed the broken toilet seat with a new one, he broke down and cried for five minutes.  I guess he really missed it.

Last Dance

May 27, 2011 by Adam in Adam

Last Wednesday Joanna and I went swing dancing, the last time at Agate Hall.  The lighting is terrible, the angle is weird, and there's about ten seconds of some guy's butt in front of the camera, but we're having fun and look like we know what we're doing.

Happy Birthday Jennifer!!

May 26, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Wow!  Happy birthday sis!  We love you sooooooooooo much!!

Eugenian to the End

May 25, 2011 by Adam in Family

A few tidbits of news this beautiful, sunny Tuesday.

The biggie is that my job isn't going anywhere.  The powers that be switched to an attrition model, so as people quit, they'll be hired into Vancouver.  Since I love my job and my team, Needless to say, it's a huge relief.

Sam, Emma, and Berry continue to be sick, though all seem to be on the mend.  I drove Sam to his school today to pick up his bike and collect his missing assignments that were causing his one C on his midterms.  At the moment he's at the kitchen table reading about Greece.

Joanna's promotion continues to be more official.  She doesn't have magical manager status in various computer systems, but I think it's on the way.

Three Sick Kids

May 23, 2011 by Adam in Family

I'm working from home today, thankful I can pull it off so well with my current job.  Last night I awoke after midnight to Sam coming up the stairs to announce he'd thrown up.  I spent the next 45 minutes or so cleaning the carpets, sink, and doing laundry.  Eventually Sam crashed on the couch and I went upstairs to try and sleep.  Then Emma woke up with a 103 fever, so I stayed with her until she got back to sleep.  This morning Berry seemed sick as well, so I have all three at home at the moment.  The girls are watching shows on the netbooks, and Sam is still fast asleep at 10:45 a.m.

The weekend was generally pretty good, though Emma and Berry seemed mildly sick off and on.  Friday night our babysitter was busy, so we hung out and took it easy.  Saturday had Sam returning early, and we all played a bit too much Terraria with Josh's cousin Matt.  Some homework was accomplished, and we played in the garden a fair amount.  Pizza and Rough Science were eaten and watched.  Joanna, Sam, and I watched the latest Harry Potter movie, which was great if very bleak.

Sunday was equally low key.  Sam was being a little too sedentary, so I took him for a walk to the store, chatting about video games all the way.  We went shopping for garden supplies, and did some planting and compost sifting, letting the chickens roam around.  Joanna took B&D to a birthday party.  Sam, Emma, and I had a fun game of Munchkin, a silly card game that everyone enjoys.  Emma and I got the chickens back into their coop, but couldn't find Melody.  Fortunately she wandered back on her own and we lured her in with cracked corn.

It's a busy week, with Sam's half-birthday Thursday and Emma's birthday Friday.  They're both going to Bend with their mom, returning Sunday at noon.  I plan on doing house projects so I don't miss them quite so much.

Pre-Rapture Mocha Friday

May 20, 2011 by Adam in Family

My morning mocha is long gone, but I'm still feeling the enthusiastic optimism my espresso brings.

It's been a pleasant week.  On Wednesday Joanna and I went swing dancing.  For whatever reason, few people were there, but we had a great time and actually remembered most of the moves from our last class.  Afterward we walked to Prince Pucklers and I reminisced about walking there as a kid when it was Gancy's ice cream.

Thursday I fetched Emma after her Coyote Kids' class.  She had a bit of a sun burn and tummy ache.  It was "breakfast for dinner", as Joanna had to work late.  She did a great job helping with the pancakes, cheerfully mixing and flipping like a pro.  Emma had trouble sleeping and got up in the middle of the night.  I think her stomach is bothering her, just like Sam's a few weeks ago.  Poor girl.

Sam's off to Jamie's tonight, returning in the morning.  He's also missing school and taking his field trip to Newport today.  I packed a bag full of food and comic books, so I think he'll have a decent drive.  We're having fun playing our new game, Terraria, and I hope he, Emma, and I can continue this weekend.  With luck, the weather will be good and we can get outside too.

Sam got his grades, all A's and B's except for one class where he had some missing assignments.  I've arranged a meetup between he and his teacher, so hopefully that'll get resolved soon.

Duncan and Berry are doing well.  Berry had pajama day at school today.  Duncan's planning on starting a band with his classmates.  They know the Minecraft song about finding diamonds quite well.

All-in-all, life's pretty good.


May 19, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

A counter-offer we can live with! Keep your fingers crossed!!

Mid-Week Update

May 18, 2011 by Adam in Family

It's Wednesday already, with the week merrily going along.  Nothing particularly exciting has been happening.  Sam's registering for next year's classes.  Tonight Joanna and I are going swing dancing for the first time in awhile.  Sam and I have been frantically playing Terraria and Witcher 2, both fine games.

I signed Emma up for ballet this summer.  Sam's getting ready for a field trip to Newport this Friday, spending some time on a research ship for his biology class.  Emma's birthday is coming up real soon.

Life's good.

Long overdue life updates

May 18, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

It’s been a long time since I’ve giving an actual update on our lives, so hear it goes!

Well, there’s only 1 week left of school down here!  Robbie will have a few extra teacher work days, but both of them will be finished by Memorial Day weekend.  There have been endless end-of-year activities.  Isa had her spring preformance at school, where she participated in the recycled fashion show, a stilt club dance, and irish dancing with live music (her best friends dad is a wonderful fiddler, and 2 of the boys in the 6th grade accompanied on guitar).  Tomorrow is art and rootbeer float day, and on the 28th she has her trapeze preformance, which is a mad scientist version of Allison in Wonderland.

Depending on the living situation we’re hoping to go on a couple of short camping trips, and day trips.  After 3 years here (how’d that happen?), there is still a lot of the state we haven’t visited.

 We’ve all been debating on what to do with the first part of the summer, before the big road trip to Maine.  Isa has asked to do nothing (I think you all wore her out last summer!).  Robbie has been debating a couple of classes and programs to gear up for his master’s program this fall.  If I can pull it off, I want to find some volunteer opportunities working with middle and high school kids.  I’m going to try to get into the alternative licensure program at Northern next year (the same program Robbie was in last year), but I’d be working towards a secondary license. 

In addition to my work, I got back the fitting notes and pictures for Sadie’s wedding dress.  Now it’s back to work revising and repatterning so she can be radiant in August!

We decided to pull out of the house we’d been trying to buy in Alcalde.  It had dragged on for 5 months, and looked like it would drag on even longer, without any guarantee that we’d be able to convince the bank to do the required work, or the lender to approve the property.  We put a bid on a beautiful (already remodeled) little house in Chimayo last Friday.  The house has been on the market for 2 years, and we seriously under-cut their asking price, but I’m hoping it will still work out.  We should hear today or tomorrow if they accept or counter.   

We can’t wait to see you all in August!

Parks, Pickle Eyes, and Chocolate Chip Cookies

May 16, 2011 by Adam in Family

It was a very pleasant, low-key weekend, a zesty blend of accomplishments and relaxation.

Friday night Joanna and I went off to Laughing Planet and listened to bluegrass next door at the Supreme Bean.  We shuffled kids off to bed and watched Glee, wrapping up the evening nicely.

Saturday began with a hearty breakfast, Emma homework while people were off at ballet.  Next was an expedition to Hendrick's park to frolic among the blooming rhododendrons, then home for lunch and gardening.  Joanna took Duncan to a birthday party, leaving me with the girls.  Emma really wanted to create a zucchini and honey mix to turn into facials.  Berry thought it was great, especially the "pickle eyes" at the end.  Later we made cookies, though Emma's stomach continued to hurt and she only ate a couple over the weekend.

Sam returned for dinner and I managed to feed everyone.  We chatted and got kids to bed, followed by Doctor Who and the last Community.

Sunday was relatively lazy.  I did haul everyone outside to mow lawns and swing on swings, not to mention a library trip. Otherwise, we took it easy, doing art projects and playing on the computer.  Sam, Emma, and I all loaded up Dungeons and Dragons Online and enjoyed playing for a bit.  Duncan continued his endless Minecraft playing.  We had pizza and Mythbusters.  Sam finished up his homework.  Life moves onward.

Stockbridge sunday

May 15, 2011 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

In an hour or two, I'm headed west to Stockbridge to meet Danica for a dress fitting. Anticipating spending a day standing still in my nickers, I wish the sky wasn't so gray. Yesterday, Greg and a friend of ours went for a walk on the Quabbin reservoir through the relocated town of Dana, or what's left of it from the early 1930s, when it was razed to preserve the watershed. Being in a totally green, abandoned yet domesticated space was an antidote to the last few weeks at work, which have been full of humans, paperwork, and not having time for lunch. 

Wedding planning is going well. We have daily RSVPs to our online Google form, which is fun to watch gracefully populate. My bridal shower invites are out for local friends who seemed willing to help with craft projects, and we're going up to Maine next weekend to walk through logistics on the farm. The process is no longer overwhelming, nor am I concerned with the inevitable disasters of planning a three day vacation for eighty people.

The only lingering worry I have is that Greg will be absent for the six weeks before the wedding, working in Baltimore. As you know, his absence last year was why we got engaged in the first place- because who wants to be separated by so many unappealing states? Hopefully we'll have lots of projects to keep us busy, and he won't get stabbed on the bus. 

Springtime Mocha Friday

May 13, 2011 by Adam in Family

I'm still enjoying my mocha on this beautiful spring morning.  I'm actually quite eager to dig into work, and have been having fun doing cool things with code.

Joanna is off at Duncan's jog-a-thon.  I told him on his way out not to run too much, as I had to pay him $2 per lap.  Berry's cold is improving, as is her mood.  Unfortunately the sweet girl facade fades pretty fast when she's under the weather.  Emma's been sick as well, with stomach aches reminiscent of Sam's illness.  She did go off to school today, which I think she's been wanting to do.  Emma and her friend Morgan chatted for a long while on the phone yesterday, and Emma misses her buddies.

Sam doesn't have school today, which makes him immensely happy.  He was busy playing Gothic 2, an old game I got for free when I bought Witcher 2.  School is going well with him, and he enjoys playing Magic with his friends.  I think I'm going to get some work out of him this weekend, as he wants $4 for a new game coming out this Monday.

As for Joanna and I, all is well.  We went out Wednesday on a hot date to the grocery store.  Perhaps tonight we can visit a more romantic setting.

Happy birthday Yayoe!

May 13, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Have a wonderful birthday - we miss you!

Early to Rise

May 10, 2011 by Adam in Sam

Sam was up at 5 a.m. this morning to play Brink, a game he's been waiting for with great anticipation.  I think it's somewhat my fault, as I sent him to bed early, pointing out he could sleep now and play more in the morning.

He's been catching up with his school work and read ahead in his Cultural Connections book.  It evidently has some "interesting" parts and his teacher was censoring it when read out loud in class.  He got it from the school library, and has been reading away.  I skimmed a bit and found it pretty funny and not that racy.  I think Sam appreciates the humor, which is rampant.

It's been great seeing him in a cheerful mood these days after being sick for so long.

Back to Work

May 09, 2011 by Adam in Family

It was a low-key and pleasant weekend.  Mother's Day was the big event, and I think I generally managed to hit all the flower, card, and present necessities of such an event.

Friday Joanna and I went out to Tasty Thai, returning with leftovers which Emma quickly gobbled up.  Saturday morning we hung out at home, working on homework, playing, and staying in from the rain.  Emma got picked up by Jamie for a lunch thing at her house, returning with both kids for grocery shopping, pizza, and Mythbusters.  The evening wrapped up with Doctor Who, which was a fine pirate-related episode.

Sunday was Mother's Day, and I made crepes with strawberries and whip cream for all.  After the bacon was gobbled up and the mocha was drunk, we cleaned up and got ready for the day.  Joanna, Berry, and Duncan went to church.  I took Emma shopping for Mother's Day and Perry's birthday.  Joanna returned with a migraine, but soldiered through opening presents and lunch.  Emma had a good time at the birthday party, and I spent a long while playing computer games with Sam, Josh, and Josh's cousin Matt.

Collette, Bob, and my mom arrived for a low-key spaghetti dinner.  I did my fourth load of dishes for the day, got Emma to bed, and collapsed for the evening.  I had been up since 4:30 with a sick Berry, so I was barely conscious as we watched Community and The Office.

With Joanna's coordination, we now have a child care person for the summer.  Her name is Jessica, a former Head Start teacher, and very organized and enthusiastic.  Emma seemed to really like her, and gave Jessica a hug when she left.

Today I'm perky and cheerfuly, doing meetings and trying to get things done.

Happy Mother's Day!

May 08, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

To all my mothers, grandmothers, step-mothers, mothers-in-law, aunts, sisters, sisters-in-laws, Happy Mother's Day!

To all the other women in my life who, while not family, have still helped to support, shape and influence me in my life, Happy Mother's Day to you too!

Interestingly enough, the woman who helped found Mother's Day, in honour of her own mother, later sued the government because of the over-commercialization of the holiday.  A good reminder that today is not about cards and gifts (though those are nice!), but about truly honouring the women in our lives who make a difference.

I love you all!!

Freebie Mocha Friday

May 06, 2011 by Adam in Family

My mocha was free today, making it extra tasty.  I finished it long ago, but have been dealing with assorted crises and issues at work.  We have auditors making things exciting, and I've had to issue calming words to a couple different folks.

I picked Emma up from Kate's house yesterday and she was her usual cheerful self.  For some reason she had trouble getting to sleep, though, and she stayed up reading until I got her to sleep close to ten.  This morning she made yakisoba noodles for breakfast, which is more common than you'd think.

Joanna's jury duty continues, hopefully finishing up today.  I know very little about the case, but I'm hoping I can grill her tonight over dinner when she's done.  Evidently there's a lot of waiting in the jury room, with no knitting needles allowed.

Sam and I had a "scurry around frantically" moment this morning when we thought his Newport trip was this morning.  Fortunately Jamie was there and read it, and it's actually on the 20th.  Today he has to turn in his permission slip and check.  He gets to go out on the ocean and do some marine biology, which I don't think was as exciting for him as skipping a day of school.

This weekend should be low-key and pleasant.  Jamie's taking Sam and Emma to a family lunch thing tomorrow, and we'll do pizza and Mythbusters in the evening.  I'll take Berry and Duncan to the library.  Sunday we're planning a Mother's Day dinner, and I have some present things to organize. 

Life's good.


May 05, 2011 by Adam in Sam

Sam ripped his own tooth out last night and handed it to me.  Admittedly, it was very loose, but that's still hardcore in my book.

I'm looking forward to writing him a letter from the Tooth Fairy tonight.  They're worth the $1 I have to give away to make Sam read it.

He was under the weather when I sent him to school this morning, but I sent him with some pain killers and a permission slip to use them.  I haven't had a call yet today, so hopefully he made it to the end.  He has some reading to do, but hopefully it's not too daunting.  Tomorrow he has his first class of planning his summer vacation, which was his choice instead of bicycling.

Mid-Week Madness

May 05, 2011 by Adam in Family

It's been a busy week.

Sam was sick Monday.  I came home with a headache and stayed home Tuesday, along with Berry who had tummy troubles.  Sam went to school and was generally fine.  Yesterday Sam called work reporting a headache, so I picked him up, fed him some pain killers, and he was fine for the rest of the day.

Joanna was called to jury duty and has to serve today and perhaps tomorrow as well.  It's not a great time, work-wise, but it does sound like the whole process is fascinating.  I look forward to hearing about it when it's over.

Emma arrives today, which should be fun.  Duncan has declared Thursdays "Emma Day," and cheerfully announces it in the morning.

Back to Work

May 02, 2011 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work, feeling tired.  I'm also fretting about Sam.  He was great all weekend, and then started to get stomach pain again Sunday night.  He was up at 4:30 this morning and didn't make it to school again.  It was so weird, as he was his usual cheerful self Saturday and Sunday.  It might have been the soda at my mom's house, as he's not supposed to have caffeine.  If he's not better by Wednesday, it's back to the doctor.

On Friday night Joanna and I went to Adam's Sustainable Table.  I had tofu crock pie, which was a tasty reminder of chicken pot pie from my childhood.

Saturday was pancakes, then working on Emma's Dolley Madison speech while Berry and Duncan went to ballet.  Sam arrived, feeling perky, and I hauled kids to the library.  The afternoon was relatively pleasant and low-key.  I took Sam for a hair cut.  Emma and I went grocery shopping, returning with pizza for a fine Mythbusters, followed by Doctor Who after smaller kids went to bed.

Sunday was another pancake breakfast, with french toast for me.  Sam finished up his homework in the morning, and we packed a picnic lunch and headed out to Target.  Sam got pants that fit and shoes without holes, completing his "refreshing" process.  We ate by the river at the hospital, returning home for a sunny afternoon playing around the house.  Emma, Duncan, and Berry went over to play at Todd and Victoria's house, then returned to break out the slip-and-slide.  We cleaned everyone up and went to my mom's for Easter dinner.

Other than Sam being sick again, life's doing good.  Joanna helped Emma with a couple sewing projects, making a tiny pillow for Berry's doll and a big sack for catching dragons.  Joanna got a promotion, which is slowly getting official.  I think it's more likely my job is sticking around, which would be a great stress relief if official.

Blindfolded Mocha Friday

April 29, 2011 by Adam in Family

As part of her Coyote Kids class, she was to eat her dinner blindfolded last night.  She was excited to hear we were having soup, as it was relatively easy to do.  There was a fair amount of peeking, as the thrill quickly faded.  Supposedly they did the same thing in her class, and Emma claims to have run into the same tree sixteen times.

Sam continues to have stomach pain, and has started in on his medication this morning.  I was talking to Jamie this morning and when she picked up Sam's homework yesterday, the secretary said a lot of kids had similar symptoms.  He's missing his choir performance tonight.  Hopefully he'll perk up by this weekend.  Poor guy.

Joanna and I are going out for dinner tonight.  The next couple days are relatively low-key.  Sam has a lot of homework to catch up on, and Emma has a Dolley Madison project to finish.  Joanna pointed out that mother's day is coming up soon, and I'll probably put some effort into that.  Sam needs a haircut, shoes, and pants.  If it's nice on Sunday as predicted, I'd love to get outside.  Otherwise, I'm hoping for a lot of time to hang out and relax.

Sick Boy Midweek Update

April 28, 2011 by Adam in Family

Sam started to get sick Sunday night and has been out of school all week.  He's been throwing up off and on, and I took him to the doctor's yesterday.  He couldn't find anything seriously wrong with Sam and prescribed Prilosec to help with gastric reflux.  Poor boy.

He was feeling pretty good for about half the day yesterday, when I stayed home to keep an eye on him.  We worked on homework and got caught up where we could.  He seemed in fairly high spirits, but took a turn for the worse last night, once again throwing up.  This morning he was draggy, but ate breakfast and went back to bed.

As for me, I've been trying to keep on top of all my responsibilities, with mixed success.  At least the laundry and dishes are done.


April 26, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Snow yesterday, and more today.  Yuck.  That's all there is to say.


April 25, 2011 by Adam in Family

The weekend is over, and life is returning to normal.  It was a bit of a whirlwind weekend, with lots going on.  Still, there were enough moments of enjoyment to make it worthwhile.

Friday night we went to Churchill for Crest Drive's talent show.  Emma was very excited to see her friends perform, and some of them were phenomenally good.  I really enjoyed the Robot Parade number, with all the kids dressed in tinfoil robot suits.  The Thriller number was great as well, with all the zombie kids dancing about the stage.  The show did run late, and everyone was getting cranky as eight o'clock rolled around.  We left before the bananna costumed boys got on stage.

Saturday morning involved french toast, and I blew the yolks out of the eggs for future egg making projects.  Joanna took Berry and Duncan to ballet, and Emma and I did some egg painting.  Upon their return we had a library run, Berry went to a birthday party in the afternoon, and Joanna started feeling lousy after that.  I took the kids outside to play as the weather was good.  Todd, Sebastian, and Flinn came over to hang out for awhile, and my mom came over to watch the kids around dinner time.

Joanna and I snuck away to Off the Waffle, where I indulged myself with a bananna split waffle.  She was feeling mostly better, and we played a little Connect Four while chatting away.

Sunday was Easter, and the exciting parts ended up on video.  Everyone woke up early to find their baskets and devour chocolate.  Joanna made eggs and we puttered about until it was time to go to church.  The kids had another egg hunt, and we returned home to find Sam had arrived from his mom's house.  We had some quiet time, and I finished up Portal 2, both single player and co-op with Sam.  It was quite fun.

The third and final egg hunt began outside with a break in the weather.  Everyone got way too much chocolate again.  I went shopping with Emma, who was charming and fun.  We ate pizza and watched Mythbusters for dinner.  After kids went to bed, Sam, Joanna, and I watched the first of the new Doctor Who episodes.  The weekend was topped off by a Community episode for amusement value.  It was great fun.

This morning both Sam and Emma had various illnesses and injuries.  Jamie took them to school, and I got a call from Roosevelt from Sam.  His stomach was hurting more, so I scooped him up and returned him home.  After a bit of a rest, he was able to eat pancakes.  I'll check up on him in an hour or so.  Poor guy.

Totally unrelated

April 24, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

You kids know that I'm trying hard to do a good genealogy for the respective branches of the Steane, Jones, and Stallsmith-Nunamaker branches of the family.

I think I mentioned that two of the Nunemaker brothers (my great-grandmother Susannah Nunemaker's brothers) fought in the Civil War, Joe being killed within six months of enlisting, and Jimmie being captured but surviving POW camp and the war. Meggie has a huge framed photo of him, and has kindly offered it to me. It's badly torn, and would be really expensive to restore to its original appearance, but maybe we fix it enough to make nice clear copies for everyone.


Happy Easter!!!!!!!!!

April 24, 2011 by Robbie in Cortez

Happy Easter!  We've had an eventful Easter Weekend.  Dad and Anne flew to Albuquerque on Thursday, drove up to Santa Fe, where we met them for dinner. On Good Friday morning, Seraph and I drove down to Espanola and navigated slowly to Chimayo where we met Dad, Anne, and Isabell (She slept over with them). The roads were already packed at 8:30am with walkers. A fifteen minute drive took us a little over a half an hour to arrive in Chimayo.  There, we dropped off my car and walked a bit looking for my dad. They were a bit late because of incoming traffic.

By the time we arrived in Nambe (10 miiles away), it was already 10:30am. It definitely was the warmest day of the pilgrimages I have taken. It was different having family along as I usually went by myself, however it was fun sharing it with loved ones. The first half of the trip went easily enough with throngs of people in pursuit of happiness, blessings and sore bodies. by the second half our bodies were tiring and our feet were definitely sore. Two miles from Chimayo the narrow roads were overly crowded with cars and the edge of the road crumbled beneath our feet.

Three and half hours later we arrived at the Santuario, touched the church, prayed, walked over to the Rancho de Chimayo Restaurant to celebrate and numb ourselves with wine and beer.

Overall, we didin't come back to shabby. Seraph had a few blisters and coverted to a red neck (sun burn). Isabell did surprisingly well, and only complained toward the last few miles and only came back with a few sun burned spots. As for Dad and Anne they did very well with a few sore areas. To end it all, they have announced they are getting married in June. Congratulations!!!!

Saturday, Isabell had an Easter egg hunt at Dixon and came way like a bandit, and then we all went to Questa to see Grandma, and my Uncle and Aunt.

Seraph for some reason or another has decided to have a small Russian Easter today. You'd think she would not miss the chaos of cooking for a heard of small elephants, but she said she missed the chaos and wanted to celebrate with friends and family. As Charlie Brown famously says, "Good Grief!"

Well, we are now preparing for church and I'll let Seraph give you more detail on the Russian Feast later on

Happy Easter

April 24, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

I, on the other hand, am celebrating Russian Easter next Sunday so my check-off list has been League of Women Voters Annual Meeting, Blazer game, babysitting, and ironing. I'm going to spend the week cooking, so I'll be organized. Perogies on Monday.


Sister symmetry

April 23, 2011 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Like Seraph, I just finished the perogies, easter bread, and chocolate almond torte. And now for a nap. 

Mocha Earth Day

April 22, 2011 by Adam in Family

It's the end of a short week, and my morning mocha buzz is fading.  It's been pretty low-key the last few days.  Our standard babysitters are unavailable, so we've been mostly at home hanging out.  My mom has risen to the occasion and Joanna and I are going out to dinner tomorrow night, which promises to be pleasant.

Sam's getting out of his cycling class, and at some point I need to fetch his bicycle from his school.  I think it was a combination of having to get his bike before each class, and feeling slower than the other kids.  Strangely, he really likes his Fitness class.

Emma needs to research Dolly Madison this weekend, one of the first ladies.  We'll have a fair number of "just the two of us" times this weekend, which should give us plenty of opportunities.  She also wants to play the original Portal.  Sam is scheming to turn her into a gamer, probably so he has more people to play with.

Duncan finished his science project, with much help from Joanna.  Gone are the days of little bowls of decomposing paper.  Since it was for science, I didn't particularly mind.

I'm excited to dye Easter eggs tomorrow.  Joanna's already got the baskets ready to go, being the most organized around these sort of events.  I'm also hoping to finish Portal 2, and have been waking up at 4:30 off and on this last week.  Sam and I have been playing co-op, to our mutual enjoyment.


April 21, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Kulich - check, Pascha - check, Chocolate Almond Torte - check, Perogies - check.

Easter season has officially started! 

(Mom - I nearly cried with happiness when the cookbook arrived - and the bunny story was great too.  Poor Robbie was regaled with stories of Easter's past as I went through each recipe!)

Dressmaking Begins

April 21, 2011 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Yesterday, Seraph's mock up of the dress came in the mail. Danica and I are meeting halfway to tailor and style it, then send it back for the final dress. Very cool.

Weekend Birthday Madness

April 20, 2011 by Adam in Family

The weekend has come and gone, and somehow I find myself at Wednesday.  "Tomorrow is an Emma Day!" Duncan exclaimed this morning.

Emma was off to the coast with her mom until Sunday night, and both kids had Friday and Monday off, so it was an odd four-day weekend.  I took off Monday to hang out with everyone.  All-in-all, it was a low-key weekend full of games, playing, and hanging out. 

Saturday was Berry's friend birthday party.  Joanna ran the show like a champ, with egg hunts and Mario-themed pseudo-stained glass projects.  To top it off, the birthday cake had Princess Peach embedded within its chocolatey goodness.  It went over quite well, and the countless girls invited seemed to have a good time.

Sunday was more relaxed.  Sam and I went for a long walk down to the library, where he tried out a bagel hotdog.  I replaced the fabric for two of our chairs.  Emma arrived that evening and we had our traditional pizza and Mythbusters.  Monday was just Emma, Sam, and I.  We played Apples-to-Apples, Emma tried Portal, and there was a fair amount of playing outside in the sun.  We all walked to Adam's school for a picnic, where strangely Sam chatted with friends more than Emma.

As for the last few days, they've been homework, Portal 2, and watching Community after kids went to bed.  Tonight promises Glee.  Good times.

Portal 2

April 20, 2011 by Adam in Adam's Games

Portal 2 came out.

It was an odd weekend that preceeded it, full of a weird contest involving potatoes, with the promise of the game unlocking early.  Sam and I diligently played games and did video game challenges.  Sam practically peed his pants when he first got to play, staying up a bit too late and setting his alarm so he could play again in the morning.

I'm training behind him on the single player game, but we got the chance to play the co-op game last night.  It's loads of fun, where we control two robots that have to work together to accomplish tasks.  Periodically we'll accidentally set the other on fire, crush them, or similarly cause them grief.  This typically results in intense laughter between the two of us.

There are other games brewing in the background.  Minecraft had powered rails added.  Soon my elaborate rail system will let people easily travel around our vast Minecraft world.

Berry's Birthday

April 15, 2011 by Adam in Family

It was Berry's fourth birthday yesterday.  It's strange to think that I knew her when she was only two years old.  We had cake, opened vast quantities of presents, and generally kept the peace.  There were Barbies, princesses, dresses, and lots of books.

I stayed home with both Sam and Emma on Wednesday, as we were all pretty sick.  Yesterday I went to work, but returned home early to watch Emma, who Jamie dropped off so she could go to work.  I tried hard to spend some time with Emma before she went to the coast with her mom today.  This morning she and Berry had a good time playing with the new presents.

Sam continues to be sick, though hopefully improving.  He also lost a tooth this morning, quietly enough.  I picked up homework from school and we'll get that done over the next few days.  I also need to get him jeans that fit, and hopefully do something active.

I made crepes and sausages for all this morning, as Joanna rushed about getting ready for tomorrow's birthday party.  I have a bunch of errands to run, and am taking Monday off to spend with the kids.  I was told the Internet connection was down, so I'll probably head home early to avert the collapse of civilization.  I think they were planning to head outside and start looting.

Sick Boys

April 12, 2011 by Adam in Family

Sam and I are both sick today.  Sam has been sick since Friday.  I just started this morning.  I managed to work, and be surprisingly productive.  My nose and throat are quite annoying at the moment.

We rounded up some of Sam's homework, and I'm putting him to work getting ready for his return, hopefully tomorrow.

Landlubber Again

April 11, 2011 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work.  Sunday was extremely lazy and low-key.  The kids all played together.  The grownups made breakfast.  My dad came over and we chatted away, hoping to come back again relatively soon.

We loaded up the car, hooked everyone up to their media player of choice, and made the long ride back into town.  Sam got a little car sick, so I slowed down on the curves and we fed him ginger.  It took about an hour to unload while kids played Minecraft.  Sam did exercises while I put Emma to bed.  That night we watched old Star Trek and I worked on laundry.

This morning Sam was being a little sick still, so he's taking it easy at home.  He seemed so perky at the beach that I thought he was over it.  Poor boy.

Wooden Ships and Iron Kiddos

April 10, 2011 by Adam in Family

I'm at dad's beach house at the moment.  Berry's watching a Barbie movie next to me, Dez is sleeping on the couch, and everone else is sleeping in a bit longer.   It looks like a cloudy, hazy morning, gazing out the windows over the bay.  If the weather isn't too horrible, maybe we'll explore a little.

Friday night Joanna and I went to Laughing Planet for dinner.  I had the chili and enjoyed playing with the plastic dinosaurs on our table.  We then wandered next door for a decaf mocha and listening to music.  Returning home, I tucked in Emma and started getting ready for our trip.

I was a little frantic Saturday morning, deciding to make regular and gluten-free crepes for breakfast, as well as get everything packed and car snacks prepared.  With the help of tea and espresso, I made it through the morning.  Jamie dropped off Sam, who evidently threw up that morning, but was otherwise chipper.  The van ride began and went surprisingly well.  Joanna got some homework time in, and everyone else played or watched shows.

We rolled into Newport just when everyone had to pee, and miraculously parked a half block from the ships.  We ended up having a massive lunch at a little place with the tall ships in view.  I ate a pancake bigger than my head.  Sam ate vast quantities of food.  Emma nibbled on her clam chowder, then ate the rest of my pancake.  Kids played with toys.  Sam and I played cards.  Eventually my mom, dad, Jenny, and her kids arrived and we boarded the ships.

We ended up on the Hawaiian Chieftain, heading out to the bay and raising the sails.  Sam and Dez were Shanghaied into service belaying ropes.  We briefly got out to sea and the waves were knocking Berry about with a smile.  Evidently the other ship was crewed by cowards, so we turned about and rejoined them in the bay.

Eventually the gunner came out and began firing off cannons.  It was loud and exciting at first, though after a couple hours of this everyone started looking forward to shore leave.  My mom thankfully brought snacks, a serious oversight on my part.

We landed, thanked the crew, picked up pizza, and drove to my dad's house.  It's quite nice, built right up against a nature preserve on the bay.  There's a little dock where he hopes to get a small boat to putter around with.  Sleeping arrangements were tight, but not impossible.  Sam ended up in the office, and Emma with grandma Sue.  I saved Duncan from being woken up by a chipper Berry, taking her downstairs for a show.  Joanna is getting her beauty sleep.

All-in-all, it's been a great trip so far.  I figure we'll be lazy this morning, and either putter around the beach a little, or head home to hang out for the rest of the day.


Flaming Mocha Friday

April 08, 2011 by Adam in Family

Just got back from a fire drill, made to stand outside in the cold while in the middle of an interview.  We're hiring a position at work, and I'm liking this current person.  Humor is an important quality.

It's been a busy, but good week.  Wednesday night Joanna and I had a hot date at Joann's Fabrics and the grocery store.  Sam's been working away at homework, thinking about getting out of his cycling class.  Last night we picked up Emma from Coyote Kids, which she really enjoyed.  After getting homework done and kids in bed, Sam, Joanna, and I watched Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist.  It was a quirky teen comedy, and generally enjoyable.

Both Sam and Emma were reporting illness this morning, and Jamie took them to her house.  Sam actually wanted to go to school, as he's been teaching his friend Evan to play Magic and they had a tournament set up.  I think Evan is a new buddy, and he jumped on our Minecraft server briefly the other night.

Tomorrow is our big trip, and we're coordinating with Jenny, dad, and mom.  I'm getting the technology pieces together, loading up laptops with movies and shows.  It sounds like meals are generally taken care of, especially the all-important pizza and Mythbusters.

Tonight Joanna and I are going out for dinner and music briefly, then getting ready for tomorrow.  Busy, busy.

Looking Back

April 06, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

I've been watching the rerun of The Civil War series on PBS. It's hard to imagine that my great-great uncle, a Union soldier only three years older than Dez, was killed at the Battle of Bushy Run.

Teeth and Coyote Kids

April 05, 2011 by Adam in Emma

Emma lost a tooth this morning.  She'd been spending days playing with it, and now it's no more.

I also signed her up for Coyote Kids, the last slot.  She had a good time doing it last year, and she's excited to go along with her friend.  Fortunately Kate's dad will be picking her up, so I won't have to get out of work early.

Swimming and Musicals

April 04, 2011 by Adam in Family

The weekend has come and gone, and I'm sadly back at work.  Joanna's at home, taking care of Berry.  I went into her room to check on her getting dressed progress, finding her in tears saying there was throw-up in her mouth.  I rushed her into the bathroom where she proceeded to throw up more in the sink.  Duncan was fascinated.

Sam went to Jamie's house Friday night, and Joanna took B&D to their rehearsal.  Emma wanted to swim, so off we went to the pool.  It was low-key and fun.  Emma liked the part where she got to surf me.

Saturday morning was pancakes - chocolate chip ones for the kids and blueberry for Joanna and I.  I took the kids to the library while Joanna finished a paper for school.  We loaded up on books, then I took everyone to Sweet Life for goodies and dropping off Sam's rented trumpet.  Next was cheese park to run around in the brief window of sunshine.  Berry managed to get herself very muddy while Sam called.  I chatted about Minecraft while digging her shoes out of the mud.

I picked up groceries and pizza with Emma, picking up Sam and returning for the Rough Science finale.  Sam, Joanna, and I watched The Social Network that night, which was quite interesting.

Sunday we had a tasty breakfast, played a lot of Minecraft together, did some homework, and mowed the lawns.  I took everyone to the playground at Adams Elementary.  Kate came over to play with Emma for a couple hours.  Joanna took Berry and Duncan to their play.  Sam and I played a lot of zombie games, and decided to build a carnival in Minecraft.  That night we had my family over for dinner, and there was much eating of desserts and running about.

The night wrapped up with Sam, Joanna, and I watching Chuck now that we're finished with Doctor Who.  Tonight both kids will be at Jamie's house.  Next weekend we're off to Newport to take part in a ship battle.  Sam's skeptical, so I've got to work on my marketing a bit.


April 03, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

It's been a sad weekend down here.  On Friday night one of my co-worker's (Alan) son died in a car accident.  He was about my age, and while he'd had some rough times, he was one of those people everyone like.  Isa and I will be going out to the families property tomorrow, where he'll be buried.  Isa sadly pointed out that this is the second funeral she's attended since we moved here.

Mocha Friday

April 01, 2011 by Adam in Family

This morning I said fairwell to Sam and Emma, gave Joanna a kiss, joked about with Jamie, and took Berry and Duncan to school.  After adequate jumpies and shakies, I headed into work, got my mocha, and settled in to read email.  Work continues to be fun and pleasant, with the undertones of people leaving at a pretty steady pace, unsure of when their job will move.  My current plan is to stick it out and see what happens.

The week has been generally pleasant.  Sam's been adjusting to his new term, with is generally the same as his old term except for his electives.  I think he's generally liking the fitness and biking classes, though he's not quite sure what he's going to do with his bike overnight.  He may end up biking to and from school, which was part of the plan from long ago.

Joanna and I haven't gotten too many date nights in lately.  Wednesday we slipped out to Sweet Life.  She's kinda gotten a promotion at work, or at least she's survived the surprising amount of layoffs in her department.  It's been a bit stressful, but I'm hoping things improve from now.  Maybe we can get in some swing dancing next week.

Joanna, Duncan, and Berry are doing church plays this weekend, so Emma and I get some alone time tonight.  Next weekend we're going on an epic trip to visit the sailing ships in Newport, riding out to sea and engaging in a sea battle.  It should be quite memorable.

Life is interesting, busy, and good.


March 31, 2011 by Adam in Sam

Sam got his grades yesterday. All A's and B's, with generally positive comments from his teachers.

We ended up having to buy a math workbook for $50, since the last one vanished mysteriously. I'm taking him to school today in order to get his bike there for his biking class.

Last Trimester

March 30, 2011 by Adam in Sam

Sam got his classes yesterday: math, Cultural Connections, Life Science, Ancient Civ, choir, Healthy Choices, Bicycling, and Fitness. Having two exercise classes was a bit of a surprise, and he thought he'd want to change one initially. During dinner, he then reported that his cycling class was the most fun, so he's going to give it a try. I got out all his bike gear and we'll haul it to school tomorrow.

Working Man, Once Again

March 29, 2011 by Adam in Family

I'm heading back to work momentarily, a few moments of quiet between getting dishes done, kitchen cleaned, kids fed, lunch made, and driving off to read the email that has built up at work.  It's been a great vacation, the longest I've had in a very long while.

The end of last week was very low-key.  I spent two days fighting zombies with Sam, and generally taking it easy.  Emma arrived with a bit of a cold Thursday night.  Sam left Saturday morning to his mom's, and returned Sunday afternoon.  We did a library run on Saturday.  I played D&D with Jason, BJ, and some old friends Saturday afternoon while Emma and my mom hung out.  Sunday we picked up a plumb tree and I planted it in the rain with help from kids.  Much Minecraft was played, with Sam starting work on an arena.  We plan archery contests and a pig riding race.

Yesterday Joanna went to work while I hung out with kiddos.  I hauled everyone to Amazon park where they were surprisingly happy and polite.  We got muddy, ran around in the skate park, and eventually retired to Humble Bagel to carb out.  Emma and I made soup until I had to return her in the afternoon.  Joanna and I went out for dinner at a Thai place, watching three teen boys bounce superballs in the Oakway Mall courtyard.  Good times.

Update: Now with skate park footage!

First Wedding Nightmare

March 28, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

My wedding dream: Sadie's hairdresser had fixed her hair with long stemmed roses, with all the leaves stripped off, sticking stright out of her head. She looked like an alien with a lot of tentacles growing out of her skull.

Greg was wearing an LL Bean shirt with a number of holes on his right shoulder.  It had been mended with iron on tape, which had come loose and was sticking out of one of the holes.

I can tell I'm getting old; I just patted Greg's shirt and did not exclaim with dismay at Sadie's coiffure.


And Now For Something Serious

March 26, 2011 by Adam in Family

I thought I'd do an actual update on the family, rather than silly game posts.  It's Saturday, though I had to think about it for awhile as the vacation days blend together.

I had my fun little medical procedure on Wednesday, and have been taking it easy since then.  Joanna's been great, telling me in no uncertain terms that I can't do any work.  Laundry has been folded around me, and dishes magically get done.  Hanging out with Sam has been equally great, and the two of us have gotten in more co-op video game time than we've had in a year.

Emma arrived last night.  She was sick during the trip, but otherwise seemed to have a good time.  She's still a bit tuckered out, and slept well through the night.

As for the rest of the weekend, Sam's going to Jamie's for the day and possibly tomorrow.  My mom is coming to watch Emma, and hopefully chat with Duncan who's been wanting some grandma Sue time.  I'm hanging out with Jason, BJ, and some others to play D&D of all crazy things, back before dinner.  It's definately been a nerdful last few days for me.

As for Sunday and Monday, I'm hoping for some kid and Joanna hang-out time.  Nothing too exciting sounds wonderful.

Cross-dressing Zombie Fighting Concludes

March 26, 2011 by Adam in Adam's Games

Sam and I finished Dead Rising 2 this afternoon - a silly, bizarre game that was terribly fun while playing cooperatively. I'm not sure I particularly appreciate the story, or the overall tone, but playing with Sam was incredibly fun. I especially liked the gritty cutscenes while wearing my pink hat and plaid shirt. Sam preferred more manly attire.

Hard-as-Nails, Cross-dressing Zombie Hunter

March 25, 2011 by Adam in Adam's Games

Sam and I have been playing a bunch of different games lately, as he and I were at home all day yesterday. We played some Laura Croft until the controller broke, Left 4 Dead 2, Civilization 5, and Dead Rising 2.

Dead Rising 2 has been loads of fun, as we weren't able to get it working earlier. I wasn't sure how putting on clothes worked, so I ended up in a tight plaid shirt and pretty pink hat. Soon enough, I was fighting zombies along side Sam, the hard-as-nails, cross-dressing zombie hunter.

Unfortunately we're having a hard time getting coop working today. We're both very sad.

Swimming, Yurts, and Water Balloons in the Rain

March 22, 2011 by Adam in Family

It's been an exciting last four days, more an adventure than a vacation.  I'll try to quickly summarize.

Friday evening was a "date with the kids" night, taking Emma, Duncan, and Berry to the pool to go swimming.  We had a great time, with Emma thoroughly enjoying carrying everyone around (myself included).

Saturday morning Sam returned, the minivan got loaded up, and we drove to the yurt.  The drive out worked well, thanks to technology pacifying the children.  We got to the yurt and unloaded, going down to the little lake and beach to play around until dinner time.  Joanna went to get groceries and pizza, which we quickly devoured.  After that was a campfire and smores, as required for every camping trip.  Sleep that night was sporadic, with Emma and Joanna having a really hard time due to strange locations and hard beds.

The next morning we had crepes and sausages.  I'd made the crepes on Saturday and the yurt had a microwave.  The sausages were cooked on a propane stove, with Sam doing most of work, if supervised.

We took a trip to the beach, ending up on a strange little beach sheltered by massive boulders.  The kids had a great time, despite the rain and cold.  Eventually we rounded them up and returned to the yurt for lunch, more packing, and the drive home.  I think everyone slept well that night, Emma and Joanna especially.

I had Monday off work and spent as much time with Emma as I could before her California trip.  She had a great time playing with Berry and Duncan.  I broke out the old microscope and hooked it up to the computer for a science experiment involving paper.  Theoretically it's for Duncan, but Joanna seems the most excited.

After Emma went off, I watched kids until Collette arrived.  We tried to play with water balloons, but were foiled by hail.  Sam and I managed to play some video games in the afternoon.  It was immense fun, and I appreciated his sacrifice so that I could escape from the zombie horde.

slow crafting progress

March 21, 2011 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Our wedding checklist does not have an "in progress" check box, but I feel good about my weekend work even though nothing is close to done. I measured, cut, and sewed 7 white tablecloths, so we now need to beg, borrow, or steal only 3 more 6 footers for a complete (very eclectic) set. I made 40 name buttons for guests, so no one ever calls Seraph Sara on my watch (this does not seem to bother Seraph, and she's a better person for it. But I will go crazy on anyone that drops the part of her name that makes my sister an f-ing angel). This is a terrible picture, but Isa and Seraph have a remnant of a vintage map of northern NM on their buttons. And I recovered from a few career and academic setbacks, mostly through the company of friends and a phenomenal Smith College bulb show.


March 18, 2011 by Adam in Sam

Sam is now 5' 6" tall, and wears pants with a 30 waist and 32 length.  He tried on one of my pants and other than the length, it fit him just fine.

It's been interesting watching him grow so big, so quickly lately.  And it's not just physically - I've noticed quite a bit of intellectual development since he started Roosevelt.

And the other thing - after nearly a decade of having it be a primary ingredient in all his snacks and meals, he no longer loves peanut butter.

Pajama Mocha Friday

March 18, 2011 by Adam in Family

Emma and Duncan got to wear their PJs to school today, which was quite exciting for all involved.  I'm stuck with jeans and a Green Eggs and Ham t-shirt, which will have to do.

It's been a fairly busy week.  Wednesday we had a potluck at Berry's school.  She cried all the way there and back, so everyone else went in while I waited with her in the minivan to calm down.  Such is the joy of being a parent-like person.  Relatively soon we went in and joined the party.  Joanna got to chat with other parents.  Sam and I went around trying to read posters in French.  Eventually Duncan showed us all the cool toys in his class room, and we hung out there until it was time to go.

I took my car in, as it was making terrible noises.  It turns out it was going to cost $1,100 to fix, as power steering fluid kept leaking out.  The good news is that when I went to pick it up from the nice folks at Wayne's Garage, they noticed my PeaceHealth badge and said that got me a discount.  Saved me $100.  Even better, it runs nice and quiet this morning.

Last night Emma arrived and Joanna made roast beef and cabbage for Saint Patrick's day.  After kids were in bed and Sam had done his stair stepping, we sat down to watch Easy A.  It was quite amusing, and I especially loved the parents who were incredibly funny.  I'm not sure I'll ever be so witty and laid back as a dad, but I'll keep trying.

Tonight we have a kid date, taking everyone to the pool.  I imagine we'll also pack for the great yurt adventure.  I was washing sleeping bags and boiling eggs in preparation.  Should be exciting.

Adam's Tour

March 16, 2011 by Adam in Family

I got a call at work yesterday, with Emma asking if I could come join her for a tour of Adam's Elementary.  I cheerfully agreed, runing home, eating a quick sandwich, taking the tour, going shopping while helping Sam with homework, and collapsing at home to unload groceries and watch Glee.

The tour went well, and we had a lot of time to chat with a 3rd grade teacher.  They were doing circuits and had made little houses with lights and switches, which was pretty neat.  We also stayed for some of the principal's speech.  They evidently had a big technology grant with lots of computers and iTouches.  There's also a school garden and they're getting solar panels this summer.  Emma seemed generally cheerful and I'm glad I could stop by.

My car is also in the shop, needing $1,100 worth of repairs.  It's been making a horrible noise for awhile, which evidently was the power steering fluid leaking away.  My finances continue to be tight, but I think I'll be okay.  I'm still eyeing flights back East, and hoping it's not insanely expensive.

For the most part, the week has gone well.  Sam continues his epic Minecraft building projects, cheerfully putting the rest of the family to work.  He managed to get himself voted Mayor and controls the local currency.  It's all pretty funny.

I think we're going to go swing dancing tonight, and there's a potluck at Berry's school as well.  Tomorrow Emma returns, Friday is a swimming night, Saturday is our coast trip, and then it's Spring Break.  Sam was enthusiastic about my suggestion of leaving him in front of the computer with a stack of sandwiches when I left for work.  He'll only be by himself for a couple of days, so perhaps I'll indulge him.

Another Weekend, Come and Gone

March 14, 2011 by Adam in Family

It was a quiet, pleasant weekend all around.  Friday night Joanna and I went out to Willie's at the Campbell House for dinner, which was quite tasty.  The next morning was filled with Minecraft and pirate paintings, then off to the library with the smaller kids.  Joanna worked away at her school project, and then we scooped her up to go to the U of O art museum.

They had a free museum thing for kids, and we constructed things out of recycled materials.  Next was a puppet show which was fairly amusing, and we wandered back home for quiet time.  Emma and I managed some work on her math game and homework.  Sam had returned, and we hung out for awhile, watching Doctor Who after a pizza and Rough Science evening.

Sunday we mostly stayed home, playing and working on projects.  The weather was gorgeous briefly in the afternoon, so we went outside and played with hoses and water guns.  Victoria was out with Flynn and Sebastian, so all the kids ran around for awhile.  After an hour or so, the rains came and Joanna took the younger kids to Target.  As soon as they returned, we drove over to Jenny's to eat dinner with her family and dad.  It was pleasant and low-key, with Sam playing this 3D Connect Four game the entire time and Emma and Jordan laughing away while playing a Zelda game.

Everyone was pretty groggy this morning due to daylight savings time, but we made it to school and work without too much difficulty.

Tsunami/senior moments, etc

March 12, 2011 by Yayoe in Yayoe

I forgot my logon password so it took me 4 feable tries until I could find the password..sigh. .I may have to tatoo it on my wrist for the future. Josh said they are all well on Oahu. Many of the harbors in the other islands were badly damaged from the tsunami including one in Honolulu. If he had his old job (clean water) he'd be out testing water samples. In his new job his agency monitors air quality for radiation and he also checks radiation levels for dental xrays machines, etc.. My heart breaks for Japan and the people who lost their lives and homes. I think we traveled through Sendai 4 years ago. It's hard to believe most of it has been washed away. Thanks for thinking about Josh and the family.


Tsunami Friday

March 11, 2011 by Adam in Family

I awoke to the news of the tsunami, immediately going through my list of people who live on the coast and worrying about them.  I called dad at six thirty and confirmed he and Anna were okay.  It's challenging for her, as Anna runs an assisted living facility and you can't really move patients very easily.  Fortunately I'm hearing that the waves hit and weren't very bad, nothing like Japan.

To top it off, construction hit a gas line near work and driving in took forever.  The smell of gas was in the air, and I opted not to go to Starbucks with Mike this morning.  So much for our man date.

Sam made it to work yesterday, tired but feeling better.  He's pretty much caught up with homework and generally good to go.  I expect to see him tomorrow afternoon after a visit with Jamie tonight.    Emma arrived yesterday and cheerfully requested I create homework for her to work on.  I made up Adventurer Bob and Adventurer Sally math problems for her enjoyment.

Joanna and I are going out to dinner tonight, and tomorrow we're hoping to visit the art museum for art projects.  Emma's friend Kate is coming for a visit.  Joanna has a web site she needs to finish for school by Sunday.  We'll likely do pizza and Rough Science Saturday night.  I'm sure we'll fit in a library trip in there somewhere, and probably a trip to Target.  Sam needs pants again.  The kids refuse to stop growing.

As usual, life is full of disasters, but generally happy.


March 11, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Yayoe - I just read about the tsunami waves hitting Hawaii.  Would you please let us know if Josh, Jody and the boys are ok?

Mostly Better

March 10, 2011 by Adam in Sam

Sam seemed to make a recovery last night, and was cheerfully laughing and watching Glee with us.  We managed to find his binder and get his homework collected, which he's hopefully picking up this morning. 

Unfortunately he didn't sleep very well last night and was pretty groggy this morning.  Hopefully he'll be awake enough to find his way to school.  It's mostly downhill.

Home sick

March 08, 2011 by Adam in Family

Sam and I are home sick today.  Duncun's school called Joanna, and fifteen minutes later Sam called me.  Unfortunately Joanna and I had carpooled, but my nice coworker Dave drove me over to move kids about.  Sam was sporting a mild fever and took it easy for most of the day, sleeping off and on.

I was feeling a little under the weather this morning, as was Sam.  I fed him and sent him downstairs to read and rest for awhile.  We're now both on our computers, me working and him playing.  I figure I'll let him revel in playing Oblivion for a while longer before making him do math or something equally horrendous.

Back to Work

March 07, 2011 by Adam in Family

I'm back to work, muddling my way through the little issues that have built up and trying to debate if it's time to dust off a big, old project I set aside long ago.

Friday night we stayed home with kids, as our babysitter was away. Joanna and I watched Juno, which was remarkably good and witty.

The next morning was a mix of computers and art projects.  Minecraft papercraft was constructed, with Joanna feverishly cutting and gluing tiny figures.  I took the kids to the library so Joanna could work on her school paper.  The hope is that she graduates next term if all goes well.  In the afternoon we went to the Science Factory, spending a remarkable amount of time in a large room filled with science.  Everyone liked the carbon dioxide and water-vapor bubbles, which popped dramatically in your hand.  After the toy exhibit we returned home for quiet time and a low-key dinner.

Sunday began again with computers and art.  After breakfast Emma declared that we'd be going to the shed for school, with Joanna cleaning the chicken coop.  We read and did a little math, heating up the tiny room with a space heater.  Emma slipped out to talk to Morgan and play Sims 3.  They were overheard complaining about pregnancy and how hard it was to get anything done with toddlers around.

We went to the park and ran around, with everyone practicing their bikes at least a little bit.  Emma was proud of herself for being able to finally climb the cheese, practicing over and over.  I lifted up Berry and Duncan repeatedly onto the cheese, occasionally pretending to remove their head and limbs to their delight.

We had our family dinner night, and it was nice to see Yayoe after a long absence.  Emma charmed everyone, as usual.  Sam arrived later that evening, and I realized just how much I'd missed him.  The weekend ended with part two of a Doctor Who episode.  Sometimes the simple things are best.

Fossil's Return

March 07, 2011 by Adam in Adam's Projects

Many years ago, my dad and I worked on a beautiful wood and brass case.  It was handed down to Sam and then Emma, and finally the innards were so old that the case sat on a shelf for a couple years.  It felt good to break it out again when putting together my new computer.

I ordered the parts a couple weeks ago after my tax return arrived.  It's a six-core AMD processor coupled with a GeForce 560 Ti video card.  I also have three different drives in there, a fast main drive, slow big drive for media, and tiny super fast SSD to install my current game.  It's amazingly smooth, all around, and I really like the SSD's ability to reduce load times to nearly nothing.  Hopefully it'll serve me well over the next couple years.

Putting it together went fairly well.  I managed fifteen minutes here and there to screw in motherboards and stick in memory.  Saturday morning I screwed up my courage, turned it on, and cheerfully started installing Windows 7.  By the end of the day I was playing Magicka and getting things configured the way I want.  It's nice when things go without a hitch.

Happy Birthday Dad!!!

March 05, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

So your like, almost 40 now, right??

Mocha Friday

March 04, 2011 by Adam in Family

I walked across the street to get a mocha with a coworker this morning.  We continue to talk about jobs and moves and such.  I don't feel particularly stressed, though it's on everyone's mind.

We had fun going to Roosevelt last night to hear Sam sing.  I left work a little early to get dinner ready so we could get there on time.  Tonight Sam goes over to his mom's, though I'm going to try to play Magicka with him online sometime.  Our babysitter is busy, so it'll be a quiet night alone with kids.  Perhaps we'll do a movie or something equally low-key.

Nothing particularly exciting is happening.  Joanna has a paper due on Sunday.  I continue to work on building my new computer, which is nearly to the point where I can turn it on.  Then it'll be a matter of running network cable under the livingroom floor and installing everything.  I'm starting to get excited to see how well it works.


March 04, 2011 by Adam in Sam

Sam performed his songs from choir last night at Roosevelt.  I somehow got assigned the job to open the door for late kids, and then wandered into the gym to watch the full performance. 

It's been fun watching Sam get into his new classes.  Yesterday he and some others put on a play they made up, and he was disappointed they didn't get to finish.  This is the one where he got to play the big, dumb older brother.

He's also making good friends.  This morning I reminded him to take in his Magic deck to play against Jordan.  I've yet to get Sam to invite Jordan over for a visit.  I think the two of them would have a good time hanging out over the Summer.

Last Day in Vancouver

March 02, 2011 by Adam in Adam

I just finished my morning run, waking up a little after five.  My sleep has been lousy the last couple nights.  No headache today, just scary dreams with my coworkers woven throughout.  Breakfast is soon, and then morning meetings followed by a drive back home.  We have our final swing dance lesson tonight.  Hopefully it's not too hard to peel myself away from kiddos.  I've missed my family.

It's been an interesting visit.  My impression of the job move date is that it's many years from now.  I also get the sense that many people will stick around, but few people want to move.  That's my plan so far.  And who knows?  Maybe they'll find some way to keep me around.  Then again, a ride down the hill to the U of O, coupled with tuition breaks, sounds very appealing.

I finally put together a video of last weekend.  Both Mardi Gras and Splash! were really loud, so turn down that volume.

Sadie's Wedding - Hotel Reservations

March 01, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

Hi, we have the following reservations at the Canaan Motel. Each room has two queen beds.Yayoe/Danica, Lohring/Anna, Adam/Emma, Jenny/boy or boys, Sue/Bob.

Seraph, Robbie and Isa will camp-out at the farm - Jordan, Emma and Isa will probably move about. Yayoe is taking a red-eye from Portland on Thursday night; John isn't going. Bob and I will probably fly East on Tuesday and back the next Tuesday, trying to sightsee a bit with whichever grandchild/ren are around. I didn't realize we were so close to the Coast.  

Rainy Vancouver

March 01, 2011 by Adam in Family

I'm up in Vancouver at the moment, typing away in my hotel room and waiting for breakfast to start.  The drive up was fairly painless, riding along with a couple coworkers and stopping by Fry's on the way.  They nicely dropped me off before going to Famous Dave's BBQ, as I was hoping for something more than salad.

We took a tour of SouthWest yesterday, which seemed notable for all the beautiful artwork.  Their IT staff was interesting, very barebones with no real developers.  Evidently a decision was made to outsource everything.  The end of the conversation was amusing, as we talked about how many of the people on our team weren't going to move to the new shared services center and they asked if telecommuting was possible.  We all laughed and the current telecommuters raised their hands.

That night we went out to dinner where there were two vegetarian options.  I had been sporting a headache since lunch, possibly because of a hard run or maybe because a cold caught up to me.  I got through it, enjoying the exuberance of a couple coworkers who had downed a fair number of cocktails.  I was in my room by eight, where I Skyped with Sam and helped him with homework until ten.  It was fun, and we kept singing little bits from a Just Dance 2 song, mangingling the lyrics and asking if the funk was so rubber.

Let me do a weekend post now, and back date it so it looks like I'm really on top of things.  I have some great video from Splash!, but I'm not sure my poor little netbook can handle video editing.


March 01, 2011 by Adam in Family

This is a fairly late weekend post, for a fairly exciting weekend.  Friday night Emma, Berry, Duncan, Joanna, Collette, and I went to Mardi Gras at Duncan's school.  It was a mad house, with everyone stuffed into a couple big rooms due to the intense cold outside.  The little kids loved winning prizes.  I hung out with Emma, won a few things, and watched her get crazy hair.  I think she had a good time.

Saturday morning was our traditional Minecraft and breakfast combo, with crepes and a mocha for me.  We also broke out the art supplies, doing a bit of drawing before a library trip.  Joanna worked on homework while I took the kids out.  Emma got Duncan hooked on Johnny Boo books, and he can now read them himself.  After a bagel and second mocha, we headed home to find Sam returning from his mom's.

There was plenty of laziness and relaxation to go about.  Sam continued his secret city in Minecraft, telling people where it is for the price of 500 blocks or indentured servitude.  I paid off Emma's contract, though she still wanted to help.  Duncan was sent to the quarry to get stone, excited to have a project.  I explored nearby caves for treasure and supplies for Joanna and I to build our little house together.  Such a funny way for a family to come together.

Emma kept me company for a grocery store run, pleasant and funny as always.  We had pizza and watched Rough Science, our preferred show while Mythbusters is on haitus.

Sunday we went to Splash!, as requested by Emma.  It was challenging keeping an eye on everyone, and Sam wasn't thrilled about going, but it was good exercise for all and we returned home exhausted for quiet time.

Snopocalypse Friday

February 25, 2011 by Adam in Family

There was no school yesterday, as Eugene got its biannual dusting of snow.  It was very pretty in the morning, with a white blanket of snow covering everything first thing in the morning.  After breakfast, I pushed the kids outside to run about.  Soon they were building a fort with the neighbor kids, like they've done in years past.  It was quite awesome, but had mostly melted by the end of the day.

Joanna and I both worked from home, to mixed success.  I was very productive first thing in the morning, but not so much once the kids were up and around.  Still, everyone seemed to have a good time and the exercise was welcome.  Towards the end of the day, there was much Minecraft, as usual. 

 It was fun having Emma about, and she was excited to work on homework.  Sam did a little extra math, as he needs to catch up with some missing assignments, having been sick for a couple days.  We did manage to take his clay dragon bowl into his art class, which should catch up his Not Complete quite nicely.

Joanna and I had a good time swing dancing Wednesday night, showing off all the new moves we'd learned.  It was pretty empty, though, perhaps because of the weather.  We're foregoing our date tonight to take everyone to Mardi Gras at Duncan's school.  There should be lots of food and games.

I'm guessing tomorrow will involve a library trip and a visit to the grocery store.  We're out of whipping cream.  I also need to get new tires, so hopefully Emma will keep me company at Les Schwab.  My new computer parts arrive next week, ironically right when I leave for my business trip.  Hopefully Joanna will keep them safe.

at the coffee shop

February 25, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Wussie snow storm

February 24, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

Eugene was in a terrible tizzy, with schools closed in the face of impending doom.

I called Adam, and he told me they were snowed in and had been forced to eat the children. However, at one pm, the snow is pretty much melted.

Rocket Wednesday

February 23, 2011 by Adam in Family

I put together a quick video of our rocket making on Monday.  It was quite a lot of fun and it felt good to get outside in the sun.  I suspect I'll miss those sunny skies after tonight, as it's supposed to snow for the next couple days.  Sam's been out sick for the last two days, and with President's Day, he may not go to school at all this week.

Life's been generally good and pleasant the last couple days.  I picked up Sam from Jamie's, gave Emma a hug, and we watched Glee last night. Tomorrow I may end up staying at home, depending on the weather.

30 Second Update

February 23, 2011 by Adam in Family

It's Tuesday already.  I had three days with the kids this weekend, which was deliciously wonderful.  They had yesterday off, so we played with clay, built a vinegar and baking soda rocket, lifted weights, and generally had a good time.

As for the rest of the weekend, we went to the Asian celebration, much to Emma's delight.  Lots of homework was done.  Sam returned from Jamie's on Sunday.  Everyone went to the park to run around, play basketball, and get some energy out.  I made a solo library trip.

The kids are both a little sick today, with Sam staying at Jamie's.  Emma was sounding a little weepy, wanting to know when she'd see me next.  More to come once I find some time to put a video together.

Massive Mocha Friday

February 18, 2011 by Adam in Family

I used up my coffee card, and thus got to order a free mocha.  Since I had a choice, I ordered the biggest possible for maximum deliciousness.

Emma arrived last night, bringing the household excitement to a maximum.  After dinner, I sent Sam to do homework in the kitchen as usual.  He's become an inadvertent role model, as all the other kids wanted to do homework too.  Emma was working away at math in her Beavers cheerleader outfit, taking the workbook to the bath and bed too.  It's amazing that she'd rather convert feet to yards instead of reading a bedtime story.

After the younger kids got to sleep, Sam and Joanna continued to work away at homework while I cleaned up and played a little Minecraft.  They finished up just in time to watch an awesome Glee episode.  Any show that includes songs from Spinal Tap is okay in my book.

The weekend is looming and promises to be exciting.  Tomorrow is the Asian Celebration, opportunities to go to Splash! and the Science Factory, not to mention the usual routines.  I'm trying hard to get Sam to have a friend over, and it looks like my mom is taking him to a movie.  Emma's looking forward to hanging out and doing homework.  Joanna and I are heading to a cupcake place for game night.  Should be fun.

Post Valentine's Day Thaw

February 17, 2011 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

While today was a balmy 8 degrees, it hasn't snowed for a week and our driveway is half thawed. This picture is from our last big storm on the 2nd that had us shovelling three times a day.

We got our third Moosewood cookbook for Christmas and are spending our free time cooking new soups and such. I think that I'm finally registered into all the college systems, after 6 months of borrowing usernames.  I've won over at least two of our five work study students. Having previously considered myself gregarious and easy to work with, this position has been full of new lessons. My most valued skills seem to be web management, software, and design- totally weird. Either I'm becoming a geek or digital literacy is not as commonplace as I thought. I assumed, incorrectly, that folks with a smart phone glued to their thumbs knew how to both consume AND produce digital information, and that I was the digital luddite. Considering I didn't have the internet when I met Greg, I suspect its his influence.

Midweek Update

February 16, 2011 by Adam in Family

It's been a wild and wacky week, as usual. 

I had a brief moment of panic when I arrived home to see Sam's jacket and backpack on the front bench, but the door was locked and he wasn't inside.  I ran around the house, only to look out and see the lights on in the shed.  I realized that the last time he was locked out of the house, I told him to go there.  Sure enough, the key had gone missing and he did as I asked.  I got him a backup key for his backpack, and am making spare keys soon.

Sam's slowly getting caught up in school, staying up until nearly ten o'clock to finish up his math, reading, and speech.  He's still figuring out how to be organized with the vast amount of work he's getting in middle school, and he's fortunately much improved from the start.  Sam told me that now he doesn't have band, school's pretty good.

Berry's a little under the weather as she got some required vaccinations yesterday.  I think she was achy this morning and I carefully put on her jacket.

Emma's excited about the Asian Celebration this weekend, and we'll likely go on Saturday.  For the last six months, she's kept asking when it's coming next.  I guess it really made an impression.

Valentine's Day Party

February 15, 2011 by Adam in Emma

I had fun visiting Emma's class and helping out for the Valentine's Day party.  I was stationed at the cookie making table, passing out frosting and equitably distributing sprinkles.  The kids were generally pretty excited, and Emma was quite thrilled to see me.

Valentine's Monday

February 14, 2011 by Adam in Family

It's Valentine's Day, which has started out well.  There were presents for all, the new Glee CD for Emma, Minecraft t-shirts for Sam and I, stamps for Berry, and earrings and flowers for Joanna.  Duncan's gift remains a mystery, lost in the flurry of tissue paper.  This afternoon I'm going to Emma's Valentine's Day party at school, which should be fun.

On Friday Joanna and I went out to Chapala's, returning to find Emma and Amber playing Creationary.  Saturday morning was Minecraft and art.  We broke out the Fimo, baking endless little creatures - some normal, some glow-in-the-dark, and some eraser.

Late Saturday morning I met with Jamie to go over the summer schedule and Emma's school.  The general plan seems to be that Sam and Emma would be at my house Saturday through Monday night, and alternating Tuesdays.  We also tentatively agreed to have Emma go to Adams Elementary.  It was a pleasant conversation, and I enjoyed chatting about the kids and how huge they're getting (Emma wears size 10 pants).

Saturday afternoon was play date madness.  Berry and Duncan had their friend Jimmy over.  Emma had Kate.  Due to my two mochas, I had the urge to rearrange the living room.  It turned out pretty well, but there was a point where wires were everywhere, the big TV was on a couch, and I wasn't quite sure how it was going to turn out.  Fortunately it all came together, things were discovered under couches, a tangle of cables was ripped out, and I'm happy with the end result.

Sunday morning was pleasantly lazy.  Joanna, Berry, and Duncan went to church.  Emma and I went to the library, and stopped by a florist in preparation for Valentine's Day.  We hung out and played games until everyone returned. 

Though it was drizzly, we opted to go to the playground for Adams Elementary.  Emma and I both remembered the playground from Sam's many soccer games there.  We ran about maniacally and then returned home for quiet time.  Emma watched Glee, Sam returned to play Portal, and I went off grocery shopping.

The day wrapped up with Joanna and I going to a quick swing dance class, where we learned a dip you probably couldn't do in middle school.  Dinner was pizza and Rough Science.  Sam finished his poster and Emma worked hard on her reading.  She had a hard time sleeping that night, and I eventually fell asleep next to her until woken by Joanna who had gone to put Berry to bed.

Life is happy chaos.

Happy Valentines Day!

February 14, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

Want you all to know how much I love you. You are much appreciated!

The last couple of days have been busy, busy. Because the parents of Connor Ausland, one of the boys who drowned, live next to Adam and Joanna, when I dropped stuff off at their house last week, I left a note saying that we would be happy to have people use our guest rooms. So when we learned we would have five people last night and four tonight, we decided we'd try to find somewhere else to sleep, at least for last night. I thought that if Lohring were at the coast, we could sleep in his place, but Bob decided he'd stay in Ron's travel trailer. My back up plan was bunking in Jordan's top bunk.

However, when I mentioned this to Stan Honn, he said he thought Campbell House had donated a couple of rooms which wound up not being used. After a couple of phone calls, we had a place to stay in what's a really nice B&B. We left our house guests relaxed, havin' a Bud, and probably secretly relieved that they could just be quiet and together, no matter whether or not Bob and I were appropriately gracious.  And I'm secretly relieved that you kids and grandkids are alive and well.

Much love, Mom/Sue

Mocha Friday

February 11, 2011 by Adam in Family

My Friday mocha is all gone, a happy buzzy propelling me towards lunch.  Work has been an odd mix of crises, mostly resolved at this point.  Still, it's so nice that we finally went live with our Internet site and the time pressure is somewhat relieved.

Emma arrived last night, a joyous bundle of energy and play.  She and her friend Kate have an elaborate Minecraft abode planned out, which they'd penned and colored together.  It's funny how this indie game has reached over a million people, including 2nd grade girls at Crest drive.

The big decision with Emma that's coming up is where to put her for next year after her school closes.  The default is Adams Elementary, with the teachers and students generally going over there.  It's not as close as Edgewood to Jamie, who generally gets her to and from school, so the two of us are talking about it tomorrow.

I'm hoping Emma and I can get in some quality dad/daughter bonding, perhaps over more bike lessons at the park, or making some meals together.  I'm quite fond of that girl.

Sam continues to work away at catching up on his missed assignments.  Last night he made a stamp out of a block of rubber and an X-Acto knife for his art class.  Sam's eye appointment on Wednesday went well, and his prescription hasn't changed much.  That's a good sign, especially considering he's grown so much, and he hopefully won't be as terribly nearsighted as I am.  Sam's off at Jamie's, theoretically until Sunday.

As for me, I'm excited to go out to dinner with Joanna tonight.  This weekend I'm sure there will be the usual laundry and housework and such, but some kid hangout time sounds equally wonderful.  Should be fun.

Midweek Class Change

February 10, 2011 by Adam in Sam

Sam wasn't very interested in his band class, not feeling very capable with the trumpet.  He expressed an interest in choir, as that's something he'd done at Crest for many years.  I put out feelers to see if it were possible, and when Sam arrived Tuesday to his band class, he discovered he'd already been switched.

He seems pretty enthusiastic so far, humming tunes and asking about what certain Spanish words mean.  Evidently one of the songs is entirely in Spanish.

He's also still catching up on missing assignments.  He has four art assignments he needs to finish, and we may need to go get him a block of clay to work on this weekend.

New Vegas

February 09, 2011 by Adam in Adam's Games

Sam and I pooled our money and got Fallout: New Vegas.  It's entirely awesome, and we're having a great time going through the dusty post-apocalyptic wastelands of southwest America.  There's a real western feel to the game so far, and I've cheerfully donned my chaps and cowboy hat to take on the varmints and scoundrels of the wasteland.

Sam's played far more than I have, but I'm still having a good time with my occasional fifteen minutes of play time here and there.

Back to normal??

February 08, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Well Robbie & Isa are back to school today (yeah!!).  There are still a lot of places without natural gas, but they must have realized that an angry mob of parents that were going to show up at the capital if they didn't get the kids back to school.  We're still under a state of emergency - not that you'd ever hear about that in the news!

Oh, and thanks for the comments yesterday, we did manage to get groceries without eating any tourists or Texans!

(Here's a picture from Isa's mystery birthday party)

Family Updates

February 07, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Well, Robbie and Isa are still out of school.  Hopefully (for my sanity if nothing else) the gas will be restored tomorrow.  I did make Isa do "school work" this morning.  Some math and reading worksheets we found on-line.  Most of Taos and Espanola are closed down, as well as the smaller communities.  We've has snow the last few days, so I continue to be thankful for our big fireplace.  I suppose the nation will persivere, as Texas did find the power to keep the Super Bowl going, even if they couldn't get the electric to the pipelines.

We're heading out to look for an open grocery store, and maybe run some errands if possible.  Love to all!

Subdued Monday

February 07, 2011 by Adam in Family

I'm feeling subdued this morning.  News about the neighbor boy being swept to sea has been slowly working away at my subconscious.  There's a tractor in our sandbox that has "Conner" written on the bottom.  I almost brought myself to go over and give my condolences, but our kids came running out and I felt compelled to play with them in the backyard.  Maybe tonight.

We passed on going out Friday night, as everyone was a little sick.  Sam spent the day and night at Jamie's returning with all his assignments turned in and caught up in everything but his art class.  He may need to stick around after school to wrap things up there.  Saturday morning we went for a library run, Joanna included, and returned with loads of books.  In the afternoon I took all four kids to Autzen Baker Park, running around and throwing rocks off the bridge.

Saturday night we had my mom, Bob, Collette, and Hanni over for dinner, with soup, pizza, and three kinds of delicious desserts that we're still working through.  Afterwards, mom and Bob stuck around to watch Monsters, which ended up as a pretty good low-budget movie.

I was exhausted Sunday morning, as Emma was up the previous two nights.  I broke out the Legos and began sorting them, which everyone played with.  Crepes, sausages, and espresso perked me up adequately.  We mostly stayed at home, doing homework, taking the younger kids for haircuts, and playing about.  Sam and I sprayed and painted the front garden wall.  Joanna and I went to a new swing dance class, learning Charleston moves while my mom watched kids.  Afterward was hamburgers and Doctor Who.  We finally finished Hanni's delicious cream puffs, but only because I ate two.

When my brother died

February 07, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

I realized that the worst thing which could happen to a parent was to lose a kid. Yesterday afternoon Bob and I were leaving for Richard's birthday fiesta when we saw Linda Honn, looking distraught. Aaron, their son, was nominated as one of the Mr. Axmen contestants. (A fundraiser for the Children's Miracle Network..) All ten contestants had gone to the coast for a weekend retreat and were playing on the rocks at the edge of the ocean. A sneaker wave caught the boys off guard, and two or more were swept into the water.She told us that Aaron was okay, but that a couple of the boys were missing. The Honns were on their way over to Yachats, and we fed the dogs and left a pot of soup. Ironically, the "makings" of the soup were their Christmas gift to us. Later that night, we learned that two of the boys drowned, but their names weren't released. It wasn't until this morning we found out that one of the boys who drowned lived with his parents next door to Adam and Joanna, and his dad is one of my former clients who I'd gotten to know fairly well. We stopped with food and an amaryllis.

A sombre day; our waitress this morning, a South student, was red eyed. Even the Superbowl shoppers at Safeway seemed subdued. Eugene is a small town.

Mocha Friday

February 04, 2011 by Adam in Family

I was needing the caffiene a bit this morning, so I'm glad it's Mocha Friday.  Emma was up quite a bit last night.  Once she said she had a bad dream and another time her stomach hurt.  Everyone is under the weather today, with Sam staying at Jamie's instead of going to school.

Speaking of school, Sam's midterm report card came home and it didn't look very pretty.  There were a lot of missing assignments, which was reminiscent of last term.  I think he has a hard time staying organized, especially when he's sick.  Jamie's going to take him to get his homework after school today, and hopefully get some of his missing assignments.  On the plus side, it looks like Sam can transfer from band to choir.  He hasn't really gotten into the trumpet since he picked it up.

Homework with Sam has been grueling lately.  We were up until ten o'clock Wednesday night and again until nine last night.  I don't remember having quite this much homework in middle school.

Emma arrived yesterday, and was a treat to have around.  She wanted me to make up math problems for her, which she did quite well.  She then wrote a story problem involving units of love and hugs, which she had Joanna work on.

I'm looking forward to a low-key weekend.  Joanna and I canceled our date night tonight, preferring to stay home with the kids and rest.  Tomorrow is our big family dinner.  Sam's at Jamie's until tomorrow morning.  I foresee a lot of Minecraft, homework, and watching movies, though if it's nice I'd love to get outside again.

What the...?

February 03, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Well, I guess the energy crisis has begun.  At least in NM.

Robbie & Isa headed out late this morning - 2 hour delays in their district.  Robbie just called to say that school has now been cxl'd due to a natural gas shortage.  Most of the schools in the state are heated with ng, so currently there are about 200 closures in the northern part of the state (ok, not all of these are heat related).  Apparently our state has extensive ng resourses, but no real infrastructure for it (propane and wood are still cheeper heating sources).  Sigh... makes me glad we have a fireplace and warm blankets!

(Yes, that's frost on the inside of our 3" thick front door!)

Silly things on a cold day

February 03, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Ok, this was a "must share" with my family:


More Lost and Found

February 02, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

And an extra pair of men's gray Timberland brand socks.

Wednesday Already?

February 02, 2011 by Adam in Family

The week is moving along at a rapid clip.  Tonight Joanna and I are going out for dinner, maybe using up an Off the Waffle gift certificate.  I'm pondering watching Mosters with Sam, Bob, and my mom tomorrow, as Netflixs should ship it today.

Sam got sick last night, waking up to throw up at three in the morning.  Fortunately he was fine this morning and ate a big breakfast.  He's been relatively cheerful and was excited to tell me that he and his friend Jordan played Magic at lunch yesterday.  Sam's also been quite funny lately.  I can't adequately describe his Human-Dalek hybrid impersonation from Doctor Who.

Duncan got his first homework this week, choosing to forgo playing on the computer so he can do it immediately.  Both he and Berry had a good time with their ballet class.

Life moves along.


February 02, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Robbie and I just dug the cars out.  We had 20" of snow over the last 2 days, and it's been really cold out!!  While Robbie & Isa's schools were open yesterday, the highway in front of our house was closed, so they each got a school day.  This morning they had 2-hour delays, so they head out to school in a few minutes.  The problem from living where you work - no snow days here!


February 02, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy Birthday Destin!!!!  Robbie and I always measure the length of our relationship by your age - 15 years and counting!  Have some fun, as the next 15 will go far too fast.  Luv ya dude.


February 02, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

Watching an interesting four program series on the space race. The first "man in space" Alan Shepard - 116 miles about the earth. Those familiar early names - remember Chris Kraft, Project Mercury, Friendship 7, and of course, John Glenn's first earth orbit.

I have an extra blue and white cooler after Sadie and Greg's engagement party. It's not Jenny's, and I don't think it's yours, Adam or Yayoe. Lohring, do you think Ana brought food in it?

Birthdays, Bikes, and Buoyancy

February 01, 2011 by Adam in Family

Sunday was wonderfully warm and pleasant.  Emma and I made a leather wrist-band and attached a watch, which she now wears proudly.  Joanna, the younger kids, and I went swimming.  Sam and I walked down to the hardware store to pick up paint, chatting about school and life and video games along the way.  In the afternoon we gardened, ripping out grass tangles.  Emma cleaned up her little garden in preparation for spring.  It was lovely.

I put together a little video of our exploits for the last week.  Joanna's birthday cake ended up getting returned due to dairy-free frosting.  Towards the end, Sam is shown fiddling with a heat-activated coffee drink.  It eventually worked, but we were both saddened that there was no steam shooting out, as promised.

Sunday Morning Crepes

January 30, 2011 by Adam in Family

I'm making crepes, while the kids play on the computers and Joanna sleeps.  Amazingly, no one is playing Minecraft at the moment, which is a mainstay in our household.  I used a dungeon generator to create a dungeon in our communal world and Sam, Joanna, and I were busy delving instead of watching Chuck or Doctor Who.

I had Friday off, so I missed my mocha Friday update.  It was just Sam, Emma, and I for the day.  We hung out, taking a trip to campus to explore during the middle of the day.  Sam and I played a multiplayer game until we were both giggling.  Emma and I made challa bread.  Sam got picked up by Jamie for the evening.  Amber watched kids while Joanna and I went to listen to music at Cosmic Pizza.  There were clowns and ukulele.

I used the previously baked challa bread to make a delicious french toast and eggs breakfast.  Joanna took Duncan to a birthday party, leaving the girls and I to fend for ourselves.  The weather was beautiful, so we took our bikes to the park.  Emma can now get on, ride, and get off.  Berry spent over a half hour riding her bike in circles.

Returning home, we had a snack and the girls played in Emma's room for a long while.  I hear there was considerable reading involved.  I fiddled with my robot, getting it to the point where it can nicely transport the laptop around.  The next tasks are programming ones.

Sam spent the afternoon in grandma Sue's care, returning with a haircut and new shirt.  Eventually Joanna arrived as well.  Emma and I nearly finished her math, and then the two of us went out to get groceries and pizza.  I think I impressed the girl with the vast quantities of food required to feed a household of six.  The evening was wrapped up with a nature documentary and the previously mentioned Minecraft.

As for today, I'm hoping we can fit in a trip to the library and swimming.  If the weather continues to be gorgeous, perhaps some puttering in the garden can occur.  It's been a lovely weekend.

Another Quiet Weekend

January 24, 2011 by Adam in Family

We had a pleasant, quiet weekend.  Sam, Emma, and Berry all were under the weather on Friday night, but we abandoned them with Amber and a Toy Story movie.  Sam slept through it all, emerging after we returned.  Joanna and I went to the Granary to listen to music and eat pizza.  Unfortunately the pizza never came after an hour, so we gave up and went home.

Saturday was Joanna's birthday.  When I woke up, everyone immediately started in on Minecraft and went to work making birthday cakes.  It was funny watching them all harvest grain, gather sugar, and follow chickens about for eggs.  We had a hardy breakfast of crepes and bacon, then headed to the library while Joanna had a pedicure. 

The afternoon involved getting ready for a birthday dinner.  I picked up a carrot cake at Sweet Life, and picked up Tasty Thai.  Dinner was great, but Sweet Life screwed up the cake by putting on dairy-free icing.  I took the cake back, and the next day got a very apoligetic call and gift certificates.

Sunday was additionally lazy.  Joanna, Berry, and Duncan went to church.  Sam, Emma, and I worked on homework.  Emma played with neighborhood girls for awhile.  The kids, including Sam, played Just Dance 2 until their bodies ached.  I managed to work in some gardening and removed the stain from a side table.  For dinner we ate pizza and watched Babies, which was cute and interesting.

As for this week, we've got another four-day weekend ahead.  I'm taking Friday off to hang out with kiddos.  It's strange that it's nearly February already.

I Do Exist

January 24, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

Somehow or another, January has nearly disappeared. My personal opinion is that the big cosmic change with the year 2000 is that time began to go faster. I'm at that sad point when the Christmas goodies are gone, no matter how I try to stretch them out. Hanni's bottle of Liebfraumilch is nearly gone, and Bob polished off the last of Colette's good chocolates. I have about one more pot of the wonderful coffee that Sadie and Greg brought. I've been interspersing it with some of the ten pounds of coffee I frantically bought a couple of months ago at Canned Food Warehouse when I heard that coffee prices were going to rise dramatically.

Jenny and I went to church last week at the Faith Center in Springfield. Good time for me to review my prejudices - the minister gave a very thoughtful, non political, non evangelical sermon. No Black people there, but Jenny said she was used to that.

Happy birthday to Joanna, and Hppy B'day (that's Duncan's half birthday) to Duncan. And Happy Birthday to Isa, who is ten!

We went to a Memorial on Saturday for Pat Helmers, the woman who catered Dick's and my wedding. And to a wedding reception at Kell's, in Portland, on Saturday night.

Birthday parties

January 23, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

We're slowly recovering from Isa's birthday mystery/slumber party!  A night of 6 hyper girls is enough to wear me out, but everyone had fun.  Wow - 10 years old!!!

Mocha Friday

January 21, 2011 by Adam in Family

It's mocha friday, somewhat frantic and complicated as it often is.  Sam stayed home from school due to a cough.  Our Internet go-live at work went really well, but there are still assorted issues and crises to resolve.  Tonight Joanna and I are going out somewhere, destination unknown.  Tomorrow is her birthday.  Hopefully I can get everything ready to go.

Wednesday night Joanna and I tried out Holy Cow, which just opened on Willamette.  They're still getting ready, training people.  It has a fast food vibe, but with pretty good food.  I'd go there again sometime.

Last night was Duncan's half birthday, so we picked up a gluten-free cake on the way home and had a nice little celebration after a salmon dinner.  Emma had a really hard time going to sleep last night, and was up until past ten o'clock.  This morning she was really sleepy.

It'll be good to get through today and settle into a more normal weekend routine.  A little downtime after a rough week sounds lovely.  Just for fun, I'm attaching a video of us playing Just Dance 2, which is a surprisingly good workout.

I Love Boobie bracelets

January 21, 2011 by Robbie in Cortez

I had an interesting conversation with my sixth graders today about "I Love Boobie" bracelets. One of the boys was wearing one, and I asked him if he was wearing it because he was supporting breast cancer awareness. He smiled shyly and I didn't even have to decipher that smile. My other student, with a serious face, said, "No, I just love boobies." I did tell them that buying this bracelet supported a good cause. Afterwards, I thought back to my grade school days, and probably would of said the same thing. Boys are just boys!

Long Weekends

January 18, 2011 by Adam in Family

I had a mostly lovely four-day weekend.  Friday I hung out with Sam and Emma as they were out of school.  We did little of importance all day, walking to Metropol for goodies and picking up grass seed at Down to Earth.  Of course, we all played Minecraft together, working on extracting minerals and shaping the world to our mutual benefit.  I made Emma a virtual birthday cake.  Later in the afternoon I spread grass seed while enjoying the unseasonably warm weather.  That night was pizza and Mythbusters.  Delicious in many ways.

Saturday was a little rough, as Joanna's new medication made her feel pretty terrible.  We all played Minecraft in the morning, virtually every computer dedicated towards that endeavor, then went off to the Glenwood for breakfast.  Jamie picked up Sam afterward.  Emma and I worked on homework for awhile.  We made a scene from her book out of Legos.  There was lots of reading homework, with me feeding orange slices after each correct answer.  I also sang an "Emma is great" song after each one.

Sunday was pleasantly low-key. I took Berry, Duncan, and Emma to the library where we returned with two bags of loot.  We tried to go swimming after that, but it was completely full.  We played Just Dance 2 and the kids ran about.  As the evening approached, I took Emma to her moms for a rare night without both kids.  Amber arrived to babysit and Joanna and I went out for sushi.

Since it was Martin Luthor King's day today, Berry and Duncan stayed home.  I kept an eye on them, setting up art projects and reading a bit, but they generally did fine playing by themselves.  Collette arrived early afternoon and I worked away in earnest.  For dinner I made meatloaf, which everyone complimented.  Strange doings for a vegetarian like me.

Mocha Thursday

January 13, 2011 by Adam in Family

Okay, it's a little early in the week, but I'm taking tomorrow off, so I indulged myself with a mocha.

Work has been lovely this week, with the last of the go-live issues sorted out.  I've finally been able to relax a little and work on things at a more leisurely pace.

I got a letter from Emma on Tuesday, evidently they write a number of letters at school.  She asked how I liked my magical pony present and which episode of Glee I last watched.  It was pretty sweet.

Sam's been working away at homework this week, and little else.  I've been having stair-step in between the geneology project research and math homework.  We tried out an episode of Farscape the other night, but Joanna was unimpressed.  I have both kids tomorrow and it's a no-school day.  I'm looking forward to lots of hang-out time, along with homework and maybe a small adventure out.

There was another interesting school proposal last night.  It's possible that Emma's school stays open and instead Berry and Duncan's school moves to the closer Adams Elementary building.  We'll find out the conclusion in early February.

Joanna and I went swing dancing again last night, which was lots of fun.  I'm thinking of having Emma and I make the trip out for Sadie's wedding.  It looks like Berry and Duncan won't be going to Rochester until December due to their dad's work/school schedule.  I continue to work on the post-divorce finances, parenting classes, and other loose ends.  Life continues to be complicated but good.

Snow day

January 12, 2011 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

We're in the midst of a big blizzard of 10-14 inches, so even grown-ups get the snow day. Greg shoveled all morning. Then we ate pancakes.


Two Week Recap

January 10, 2011 by Adam in Family

I put together a quick movie that showed off some random moments from the last couple weeks.  I still cringe looking at Emma getting her ears pierced, but at least there's a smile afterward.

Go Ducks!

January 10, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Our restaurant manager is a former Oregonian, so we were able to convinced him to keep the bar open late tonight for the BCS game.  I did promise not to wear anything that identified me as an employee - just in case we get obnoxious : )

Lovely Weekend

January 10, 2011 by Adam in Family

After a rough week, we had a great weekend.  Joanna finally figured out her sickness was from medication, and she felt better after stopping.  She took it easy on Friday, and I arrived to tasty soup and a quiet evening.

Saturday morning Joanna slept in while I made crepes and bacon for the kids.  They played together, including quite a bit of Minecraft, and eventually Joanna emerged to grace us with her presence.  Next was our usual library trip, returning with books and movies and puppets.  Jamie picked up Emma for a play date with the Musgroves.  Joanna picked up another Minecraft license and the three of us cheerfully indulged ourselves while Berry watched on.

As the evening rolled around, we managed to pull away for assorted chores.  Chickens were fed, Christmas lights came down, and Amber showed up to watch Berry and Duncan.  Joanna and I went to Adam's Sustainable Table and ate tasty local food, returning to tuck Emma into bed.

Sunday was equally low-key.  This time it was omelettes and sausages, with Sam arriving just in time.  Games were played, and Berry went with her nanny to church.  I worked on homework with Emma and Sam.  After breakfast, I took everyone on a hike up Spencer's Butte, turning around after the younger crew got tired.  In the afternoon there were movies and games and playing.  I went off shopping, returning with pizza for Pizza and Mythbusters.  Emma had a hard time getting to sleep, so I only half-watched the Doctor Who episode that Sam and Joanna enjoyed.  Fortunately I'd already seen it before.

Mocha Friday from the Carnival

January 07, 2011 by Adam in Family

It's been a hard week.

Emma's been sick all week, as has Joanna.  Sam was sick yesterday.  Our big Internet go-live is coming up fast, with a long list of issues to resolve.  I've certainly felt the burden of it all, driving people around and taking care of things.  It hasn't been all bad - Sam, Joanna, and I watched Inception over the last couple nights, which was quite fun.  Earlier in the week Sam and I played Laura Croft: Guardian of Light for some laugh-out-lound entertainment.  Last night we webcammed with Sadie and Greg for game night.  Charades was hysterical, though Emma was sometimes more enthusiastic than skilled.  Even Sam got excited about it.

Emma chatted for a long time yesterday with her friend Morgan, who is clearly her best friend.  Morgan mentioned Crest possibly closing, which was news to Emma.  At some point Jamie and I need to sit down and figure out options, and then fill out school choice forms.  Decisions about school closures happen early February.  Fox Hollow is moving too, so our school routine will be quite different in the fall.

I'm stressing a bit about finances, though I've done the math and I think my bank account won't quite go to zero.  Next month things start improving, as spousal support goes down.  I need to do taxes to figure out how much I owe, if any.  I also have a bunch of one-time bills for lawyers and such that I need to take care of.  Maybe I can replace my car tires too.  In any case, I applied for overdraft protection at the bank and they were impressed with my credit rating.

I think we'll have a typical weekend.  Tonight is potentially swimming if Joanna's up for it.  Library tomorrow morning, and it's possible we'll be entirely kid-free in the afternoon due to play dates with other people.  We're going somewhere for dinner, and then I get at least Emma back in the evening.  Sam's at his mom's tonight.  Mostly I want everyone to feel better.

This morning Jamie came over to take Emma to school.  Jamie dreamed about our household being a carnival.  We all laughed, as it made perfect sense.  Now to work on my clown routine.


Sunny Day!

January 06, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

We're having a bright shiny day, which of course just makes it obvious that my windows need washed! Nonetheless, this stretch of sunny mid-winter weather is most welcome!

Borrowing from the wisdom of Gram Jones, I'm keeping busy since Sadie and Greg left on Tuesday. I've been doing a lot of comfort bleaching, counting china, silver, and napkins (in case it's needed at the wedding, not because I think Sadie and Greg pinched any!) and doing errands. My amaryllis are finally putting up buds, the little ingrates.

I need to go figure out how to coordinate the clock on the mantel. Greg got it nicely under control while he was here, so the time was accurate and the time and the chimes matched up, but it's running amok again. A few minutes ago, at 9:30, it chimed four times. God only knows what will happen in 15 minutes.

much love to all, mom

Back in the Bay State

January 05, 2011 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Thanks to all for keeping and watering us this last two weeks! We're safe and sound at home. 

Pierced Ears

January 04, 2011 by Adam in Emma

Emma got pierced ears yesterday.  They're a little sore today, but she's being diligent about keeping them clean.  She's also had an annoying cough the last four days, though I managed to convince her to go to school since she can show off her earrings.  She put on the hair band that Sadie made for her, nicely exposing her ears.

The funniest part of the whole story is that she had been reading a book on how to be glamorous and one of the sections was titled "How to Convince Your Parents to Let You Pierce Your Ears."  Emma carefully went through the list and got everyone's permission, sensibly using her Christmas money and getting it organized.  It was very cute.

I had a great time hanging out with Emma the last four days, despite her being sick.  We played games together, read books at bedtime, and played at the playground with everyone else.  I really like the person she's turning into, and tell her frequently.


Celebrating Holidays!

January 04, 2011 by Sue in Wielesek

What a holiday season! So many things have happened that I can't remember them all. Lots of friends, family, and a new baby!

Perhaps the first thing in my season was the assistance of friends Ilona and Ghio with decorations. Or perhaps it was Hanni bringing wonderful cookies and an almond cake for Sadie and Greg. Or, I suppose, it could have been the struggle to clean up and put away all my tools, take about $140 of building supplies back to Jerry's, another $45 back to True Value, and a couple of hundred backs worth of stuff to Habitat for Humanity, which earns some money by reselling building supplies, etc.

But it really felt like it started when Sadie, Greg and Greg's brother Josh rolled in on the evening of the 21st, after Josh, now living in P'tland, picked them up at the airport and brought them to Eugene. The days between their arrival and the engagement party were filled with lots of visiting, time with Adam, Joanna, Jenny, and other family. Sadie and Greg brought greens in from the farm, and the house finally had that Sadie touch we all miss. My Christmas presents were pretty, interesting, and fun. Sadie made everyone boutinniers (Ok, Ok, that's not even close to the right spelling.) Christmas dinner at Jenny's house was lovely.

The party on the 26th turned out well; Josh and Greg did yeoman's duty, and Josh earned his chef's stripes, producing a wonderful beef roast and grilled salmon which disappeared in a trice. Lots of Sadie's friends came, and it was very fun for me to see them. Ana came over from the coast, and was welcom company. A "shout out" to Joanna and Yayoe who made up and sent out the invitations for the party. A very large shout out to Destin and Jordan, who were wonderfully helpful at the party.

The week since the party was more leisurely, with Sadie and Greg able to spend a little time together. Josh had to go back to Portland so he could fly back to the East Coast. We certainly enjoyed meeting him, and he was a great guest.

I think everyone has a better sense of the location of the wedding, and has had a chance to begin some tentative transportation planning. Bob and I are the worst planners, since we're trying to figure out when and if Anna will be in Paris this summer.

New Years Eve was very fun; Colette, Hanni, Bob and I went to see La Boheme, which I thought was spectacular. Since I was in charge of getting tickets, they were terrible seats, but we had fun anyhow.

The down side of the holidays was that Jenny was fixing the table and a couple of the leaves fell on her foot, breaking a toe. Ouch, ouch. Another downside was an infection Sam got in his mouth after having a tooth pulled. More ouch! But Berry got her ears pierced and didn't even cry.

Today we drove up to Portland, where Sadie and Greg will fly from at 7:00 am tomorrow morning. We left them around 2, cheerfully planning to take the MAX to Powell's and hang out in downtown Portland, then stay at the Ramada tonight.

So the holiday season is officially over. Safe trip, Sadie and Greg!


New Year Wishes

January 01, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy New Year!!  Here's hoping that 2011 is even better than 2010!

I got 4 girls (Isa and 3 friends) fed up on crepes and whipping cream (glutten free recp per Adam - Thank You!!), and now their out sleding.  Now a few quiet moments with my own breakfast and coffee.  So far the year is good!

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