Holiday Game Sales

December 30, 2012 by Adam in Adam's Games

This is the traditional time of year for game sales.  Sam and I have been salivating, picking up all sort of games for a pittance.  We both got a mix of indie games, mainstream blockbusters, and some oddities here and there.  So far my favorite is Sleeping Dogs, which makes me feel like I'm in some asian action movie.  It's essentially Grand Theft Auto in Hong Kong, with the atmosphere to go with it.  As usual with the genre, I can run around in silly outfits if I want to.  Sam and I also picked up some 4X space games, and played a bit.  Sam got an interesting indie game that involves exploring an island and researching plants for a plague cure.  I think he likes the realism.

Wonderful vacation

December 30, 2012 by Sue in Wielesek

I posted a big long message about our trip, but somehow also made it disappear. We had a delightful vacation. We got to see Robbie, Isa, and Seraph's school, the winery where Seraph works, and go shopping in Santa Fe. We got to see Hanni's very pretty apartment and spend Christmas Eve with her. We got to meet Chester, the new dog, and snuggle with the kitties and Shiloh, the ever patient pup. We got to eat one of Seraph's wonderful dinners with Hanni and the gang on Christmas day. On the 26th, we had a wonderful soak at a hot springs resort called Ojo Caliente, followed by a tasty dinner at the resort restaurant. All in all, it was a most satisfying time!

More Jan

December 28, 2012 by Lohring in Lohring

I couldn't add this in comments.

There's more about Jan here:  I especially liked the "lessons from Jan" post.

End of the Year Mocha Friday

December 28, 2012 by Adam in Family

I'm not at work yet, so I only have a cup of tea next to me.  The chocolate covered espresso beans are just a pleasant memory of Christmas.  Sam and Emma return tonight for a weekend of family and continued playing with presents.  I really need to get those kids running around after all the chocolate of the last few days.

Joanna and I went out last night on our hot date, beginning with sushi and sorting out our insurance.  I think we're going with Allstate, which was slightly cheaper.  Next we were off to get a leather jacket, my Christmas present from Joanna.  I suddenly became 50% cooler once I put it on, plus all their leather jackets were on sale.

As for the weekend, I continue to have a bunch of house projects to work on.  I'm unfortunately getting quite good at recaulking the tub.  Sam and I have been blowing our Christmas money during the video game sales.  Hopefully the two of us can play a little.

Oh, and I finally uploaded our video from Christmas morning.  I liked Emma's reaction to Sam's present.

Jan Gougeon

December 27, 2012 by Lohring in Lohring

I was shocked to learn that Jan Gugeon died.  He was only 67 but had respiratory problems.  His memorial service is today.  See for details.  For you younger readers, Jan was the brother of Mead Gougeon, friends of the Steane family.  We were racing with them on the day Adam was born.  They built Bill Steans trimaran that he and Edna saild for years in their retirement.  Mead attended Betsy's wedding and gave me a signed copy of their boatbuilding bible.  I remember talking to him about innovative sailboat designs.  He was an impressive person.

Emma's New Bow

December 26, 2012 by Adam in Emma

Sam got Emma a new bow for Christmas.  She was very excited to give it a try, though it's right on the edge of her ability to pull it back.

Post Christmas Cleanup

December 26, 2012 by Adam in Family

Okay, I just ate half a bag of chocolate covered espresso beans.  While it does indeed give me the mental fortitude of a thousand men, it admittedly makes me slightly scattered with my focus.  I ended up redoing the web site's editor, for example.  I figure I should refresh it every few years to keep up with the latest standards.  I suspect there are some kinks to work out, though.

Sam and Joanna continue to sleep away, staying up late watching the Doctor Who Christmas special.  I'm hanging out with the little kids who are dutifully playing with Minecraft and Christmas presents.  It was funny yesterday how they all opened a huge pile of presents and then went back to playing on their computers.

Christmas went well, other than an annoying headache on my part.  Before Sam awoke, Joanna played Christmas music on the ukelele.  Joanna made delicious scones, and the kids ate goodies through the endless unwrapping of presents, skipping breakfast entirely.  I think I finally ate some eggs in order to ingest something not chocolate or butter based.  Berry loved her She-Ra shirt and action figure.  Duncan loved his pillow pet.  Emma loved her compound bow.  Sam loved his money.  Joanna loved everyone's happiness.  I loved my chocolate covered espresso beans.

Emma and I went out shooting her bow in the back yard later that day.  Both Sam and Emma really got into the new Zelda game.  Sam was showing how he could leap left and right in order to have his character jump.  The sword controls are quite impressive as well.  I think he's opted to do that instead of the treadmill for exercise.  Joanna finished book four of Game of Thrones and has started in on the fifth, Sam's present for her.  I keep eyeing various video game sales and succumbed to a couple.

Dad, Jenny, Jordan, Destin, and his girlfriend Brandi came over for Christmas dinner.  Joanna made all sorts of delicious food, which was cheerfully eaten.  We Skyped with Seraph, mom, Bob, Hanni, Isa, and Robbie.  The connection was poor so mostly we made faces at each other.  Eventually I said my farwells and laid down for a nap.  The rest of the evening was fairly low-key.

Emma really wants to use my gift to her today, PF Changs and a shopping trip for pants.  I'm feeling a little better after my latest dose of espresso and chocolate, so we'll see if I can manage.  Hopefully Sam and Joanna will wake up soon for breakfast.

Christmas Eve

December 24, 2012 by Adam in Family

Happy Christmas Eve to everyone.  I'm hanging out with Berry and Duncan early this morning - they're Minecrafting away, sending notes to each other between computers and building massive structures.  They've been trying to convince me I should let them open one present early, and then debated which present they should get.  I informed them they have to wait, as Joanna and I need to discuss our early present tradition.

Sam and Emma went off to Portland on Saturday.  It's been relatively quiet since then.  There seems to be a critical number of kids between a sit down meal and random snacks throughout the day.  I did manage a number of errands and projects.

The upstairs shower is leaking again, so cut open Duncan's bedroom ceiling and started with the grout/sealant/caulk process for the tub.  I covered the chicken coop with more plastic sheeting.  Joanna finished the last of the present wrapping and put up some more lights outside.  I think we're good to go.

Last night we took the younger kids around to see Christmas lights.  I admitted upon our return that in comparison, ours were understated.

Too Much Coffee Friday

December 22, 2012 by Adam in Family

We went out to Berry's performance at the Little French School last night.  It was wonderful madness, with tons of kids running about giggling. Emma ran into her old teacher, Sierra, who used to watch her after school.  She's married with a kid now.  Still, Emma remembered her and they had a nice chat for awhile.

Work was relatively short and completely full of meetings.  I've had some nice recognition lately for my work getting the SouthWest integration working properly.  I basically dropped everything and went outside my normal job to make sure these new employees could sign up for benefits.  It was crazy and rewarding, though I don't think I want to be the password reset king in the future.

Sam and Emma should be arriving shortly for a pizza and Bang Goes the Theory evening (Mythbusters is on hiatus).  It's a cool science show that everyone enjoys, plus it's English which makes it cooler.  Sam and Emma head to Portland for a couple days, leaving the rest of us to make our final Christmas plans.  I'm getting increasingly excited for the days off work and spending time with my family.

Not Much Further

December 19, 2012 by Adam in Family

I passed out the last of the Christmas cards to my coworkers.  Hopefully they enjoy our MadLibs inspired humor.  Joanna's been furiously wrapping presents.  I still have a fair number that I plan on wrapping this Saturday.  My mom has been dropping off presents for various people as she left this morning to go visit Seraph, Robbie, and Isa.  All-in-all, I think we're relatively well prepared.

Berry's had a bad cold all week, which finally spread to me yesterday and now it seems Joanna's feeling under the weather.  I cured mine with a mocha and Advil, as usual.

Joanna and I are going out for a date night today, probably checking out the new waffle place downtown.  There's a winter thing Thursday night at Berry's school.  Friday we'll do Mythbusters before they go to Portland for Jamie's family Christmas.  Then our little bit of madness begins.

Good times.

Cirque de Noel

December 18, 2012 by Adam in Family

I took the younger kids to school this morning and all they could talk about was Cirque de Noel.  My mom bought tickets and after some shuffling, it turns out that we could make it.  The kids weren't sure what to expect, but once they saw a woman hoisted high above the floor, swinging from long ribbons, they watched with rapt attention.  It was a fun adventure and I'm glad we could do it.

The rest of the weekend was relatively uneventful.  We went out Friday night for sushi.  Saturday morning we gathered up the kids to continue our decorating.  At one point Joanna looked up at the glittering streamers and muttered, "It's still understated."  I laughed hysterically.

Sunday morning was a little exhausting, starting at 4:30 when the chickens woke up.  Clearly the raccoons were back, though I couldn't see anything.  I tried to go back to sleep, but was woken up again.  This time I found the door slightly ajar, one of the chicken's heads pulled through the opening.  I opened it up and it shot out into the yard.  Eventually the chickens calmed down and I got them back in.

Emma went out with me the next morning and we started with our fortifications.  I had some latches handy, which I installed on both the door and the nesting box.  I also covered the nesting box with plexiglass, envisioning comical raccoons sliding off with a satisfying thud.  I wasn't woken up this morning, so hopefully it was successful.

There were other events, mostly hanging out with kids and playing.  Sam and I managed a bit of Arma II, mostly involving ejecting out of helicopters.  He also continued berating my skills at Dark Souls, yet strangely couldn't stop watching me.  Ah, the joys of parenting a teen.

Sad Friday

December 15, 2012 by Adam in Family

With the news today, I'm too sad to post.

Christmas Approaches

December 13, 2012 by Adam in Family

Joanna is tiredly filling out Christmas cards as I type this.  I think we're down to under 30 at this point.  Pretty much all presents have been purchased, if not wrapped.  Seeing as we only have a couple weeks to go, I think we're in a relatively good state.

Work has been particularly crazy and sad lately.  We're integrating with another group, and it became obvious last week that nothing was ready.  I stepped in to fill the void and think things are more on track, though it became apparent quite quickly that no one was in charge of the process.  We also got news that my manager of 17 years wasn't going to be my manager anymore.  The reorg is going to force out some really good people, I'm afraid.

Getting Ready for Christmas

December 10, 2012 by Adam in Family

We're slowly getting ready for Christmas.  We tromped out to mom's tree farm on Saturday where we cut down a huge, misshapen tree and used the top half. We returned to civilization for lunch with my mom, and then home to decorate it.  Sadly the stability was off, making Joanna extremely nervous about all the ornaments until I sorted it out the next day.  Clearly my Christmas tree stability sense is way off.

There was present wrapping, card filling out, and general preparatory work.  I think we're generally doing okay.  In the afternoon we saw part of Joanna's holiday show at church, which was quite nice.

Sunday was pretty lazy, at least as much as we could manage.  I did a couple quick shopping trips, but otherwise hung out with kids.

Patient Mocha Friday

December 07, 2012 by Adam in Family

I think I'm still five hours away from a mocha, as it's crazy early o'clock in the morning.  I was woken up by Duncan around midnight, as there was an incident and he needed his sheets changed.  Some time before five I swear some other kid was crying, but I couldn't get back to sleep after that.

I'm meeting Jason Riedburger and Jason Kronholm for coffee this morning.  I used to work with the first Jason and he was wanting to stay in touch.  The other Jason I've known since I was 18, and it'll be nice to catch up with him.  Plus coffee.  Let's see if I can wait that long or I end up getting two.

The week has chugged along.  It looks like Berry is going to be in the TAG program.  We were discussing her intelligence over dinner has she tried to stick a chopstick in her mouth and touch Emma's finger with the tip.  She excused herself in caveman talk as well.  Admittedly Berry made a pretty sweet cardboard spaceship, complete with pipecleaner controls.

Sam had his choir event this Wednesday.  Joanna and I went down with Berry and Duncan to watch him.  The little kids made it a few songs before they had to go run in the hallways.  Sam did a pretty good job, and I verified that his lips moved for all of the songs.  The music was great and full of various sea shanties.

Dark Souls

December 05, 2012 by Adam in Adam's Games

I've been playing a variety of games lately, as has Sam.  First off was finishing up X-Com, which was quite satisfying.  The original is always a classic, but this one had greatly improved graphics and the gameplay felt pretty well streamlined.  My favorite part was the stories that came out of the game, and how I could name and customize my troops.  Because of this, Denziel Washington saved the planet.  Thanks, Denziel.

I also finished up the Walking Dead, and had Sam play it too.  I hesitate to call it an adventure game, though I guess that's what it technically is.  The main strength is how it draws you into the game, and the intensity of the difficult choices you have to make.  The main character ends up having to take care of a nine year-old girl.  Even Sam got choked up and emotional at the very end.

My latest obsession is Dark Souls, which I've played far less than Sam, but still continue to sink tons of time into.  It's incredibly hard and long-ranging.  Sam's finished it multiple times, and likes to watch me play, berating my sad skills as I go.  I'm getting better, though some of the fights continue to be incredibly hard.  Never have I had so much fun playing such a brutal game.  It can be quite pretty sometimes, though.

Tuesday Already?

December 05, 2012 by Adam in Family

It somehow became Tuesday, and late at night at that.  I had a wonderful, lazy three day weekend, full of hanging out with kids and doing very little.  Emma was off in Bend with her mom, so Sam and I spent an awful amount playing video games.  He somehow got me hooked on a game called Dark Souls, which is one of the more challenging games I've ever played.

We did some practical things along the way.  Sam and I went out and work on the chicken coop, reinforcing the places where the racoons clawed through the chicken wire.  I haven't been woken up by squawking in days, so I think everything's okay.

Saturday afternoon I took the little kids to Fifth Street Market to pick up pizza.  They loved the Christmas lights that had gone up, and had a great time in the glass elevator.  Joanna was off at a gala for work.  She bought some raffle tickets to support the cause and ended up winning a couple baskets of goodies.  Plus she had pictures of herself in a pirate hat, which somehow supported healthcare.

Monday came and went, the usual work madness continuing on.  Poor Duncan came down with something and Joanna picked him up from school.  Emma returned that night, and I had a wonderful time just hanging out with her after a weekend without her.

Today Duncan was sick again, but seemed much better tonight.  I had a headache all day, cured by my usual Cafe Madvil remedy.  Berry got the results of her Talented and Gifted test, scoring in the 99th percentile.  We have proof that she's a big smarty pants.

Happy Birthday Robbie!!!!

December 01, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

Lordy, Lordy, Rob is 40!

 (And better than ever!)

Mocha Friday

December 01, 2012 by Adam in Family

It was an exceptionally lazy day.  I took the day off, hung out with Sam, and played far too many video games.  My biggest accomplishment was hanging a heater on the wall.  It was glorious.

Mid-Week Update

November 28, 2012 by Adam in Family

I woke up early Tuesday morning to the sound of chickens screaming bloody murder.  I got up and thought about going out, but they eventually quieted down.  The next morning one chicken was missing, a trail of blood and feathers leading through a hole that was clawed in the wire.  I'm pretty sure it was raccoon.

I ended up in my work clothes, pounding heavy staples into the wood to try and repair things.  The chickens were still here this morning, so it worked well enough.  On the plus side, the eaten one was one that wasn't laying anymore.  Instead of feeding it to a human somewhere, we're supporting our local wildlife.

Sam and I had our boys night yesterday and watched The Walking Dead after a ton of homework.  I managed to get Duncan and Berry to bed while Joanna went to choir practice.  Tonight Joanna and I have a date night.

The only other exciting thing going on is that I'm thinking about taking Friday off work to hang out with Sam.  He has no school that day, and a testosterone fueled gaming session sounds somewhat appealing.

A Happy Thanksgiving Indeed

November 26, 2012 by Adam in Family

I can't remember such a wonderful Thanksgiving as the last few days.  It was low-key and involved a tremendous amount of hanging out.

The kids were at Jamie's on Wednesday night, so Joanna and I went out for a hot date.  We were celebrating three years together, which started the day before Thanksgiving on the dance floor at Agate Hall on the day the dance was cancelled.  We first had dinner at the Agate Street Bistro and exchanged gifts, as we decided jail food was probably lousy.  Fortunately we didn't have to break any windows, as the door was open and we quietly snuck in and danced a little before leaving.

I picked up the kids Thursday morning and we enjoyed the day until it was time to go to mom's for dinner.  Emma played Guitar Hero, getting pretty good at it.  I think Duncan and Berry kept their PJs on until it was time to leave.  Emma and I went over early to help set up, with Emma staying to cook all afternoon.  She was quite proud of her creamed peas.  We eventually all arrived, eating and chatting our way through dinner.  Sam and Duncan played Mastermind.  Berry played with toys.  Emma flitted about.  I talked to my sisters on the phone.  No one had a melt down and everything was pleasant.

Friday morning was when we decided to celebrate Sam's birthday (his actual birthday is today).  We had a delicious breakfast of crepes and sausages, followed by treats picked up at Sweet Life and Metropol.  Sam got a sticky bun with a candle.  He also ended up with a book, an Adventure Time Mad Lib, and Castle Panic, a boardgame.  Plus he got X-Com and The Walking Dead video games.  The latter he played obsessively over the next few days and declared great.

Jamie texted to let me know she was sick, so I kept Sam over the weekend.  I took he and Emma to Thanksgiving dinner at Dave's house.  Duncan wanted to come along too, though we sadly informed him that probably wouldn't work out.  Sam hung out with Josh.  Emma was loved to death by Finn.  I think they had a good time.

The next couple days were fairly low-key.  I went shopping and got pizza for Mythbusters.  Joanna and I got to some tidying up, and I fixed the chicken coop's storm damage.  Sam and I played a lot of video games.  I got into Dark Souls, which Sam has playing obsessively for weeks.  Sam also bought Crusader Kings II, with the highlight being the time we figured out how to marry off a relative to strengthen our ties with another kingdom.

Sunday morning we took everyone but Sam to see The Rise of the Guardians with Jenny, Jordan, and mom.  Emma loved it, and I thought the special effects were pretty good.  We puttered around until it was time for Joanna and Duncan to go to Berry's ballet performance.  Sam, Emma, and I ate weird dinner food, played Nerf guns in the basement, ran around playing hide-and-seek, and then got ready for bed.

Now we're back at work and school, filled with pleasant memories that will hopefully sustain us until Christmas.

Happy Thanksgiving

November 22, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  We're there with you in spirit and gluttony!

Another Pleasant Weekend

November 20, 2012 by Adam in Family

It was actually a pretty great weekend as weekends go.  Friday night we hung out with kids and ate Tasty Thai, followed by a breakfast of pancakes in the morning.  We hadn't had pancakes in ages, but Berry asked for it specifically.  I think it had something to do with Curious George.

I took Berry and Emma to the library while Duncan and Joanna went off to Target for a shoe shopping spree.  A very grumpy Berry calmed right down and we had a great time.  Berry was mesmerized by her Wonder Woman book.  Emma read A Practical Guide to Wizardry for the tenth time.  We snacked in our usual area, then wandered home for lunch.

Emma was especially sweet all weekend, playing Littlest Pet Shop with Berry, joking with Sam, and playing pretend with Duncan in the basement.  She even lured me downstairs to play music.  I ended up banging on the drum and having a remarkably good time.

Sam came home a little early after a doctor visit.  I picked up endless meds for him as well as a pizza for Mythbusters.  He continues to play Dark Souls more than any video game except perhaps Minecraft.

Berry yanked her own tooth out on Sunday.  She casually came into the living room with toilet paper stuffed into her mouth.  I was a little worried she'd start in on the teeth that weren't loose in order to cash in.  It's also the end of an era as Duncan had a chat with Joanna, telling her that he was pretty sure the tooth fairy wasn't real.  I guess we'll see how Christmas goes.

We're gearing up for Thanksgiving and Sam's Birthday.  He usually seems older than his almost fourteen, mostly because he's bigger than me now.  He's gotten pretty funny too.  Hopefully the trend continues.

Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!

November 17, 2012 by Sue in Wielesek

We're going to visit Seraph, Robbie and Isa for Christmas! A friend posted about a Southwest Airline pre-holiday sale, one day long. Since the one day was yesterday, I scurried around and talked to Robbie and Seraph a couple of times.

More later, Mom


November 17, 2012 by Adam in Adam's Games

There's a new X-Com game that came out recently, a remake of the classic "fight against the alien invaders" game.  There are mysterious UFOs you can shoot down, a team of crack soldiers you can advance in rank, base building, research of alien technology, and of course tactical fights against the foe themselves.

I'm having an especially good time naming soldiers after various family members.  Emma ended up in a support role, especially good at tazering aliens to bring back for interrogation.  Sam's a heavy, blowing up buildings with his rocket launcher.  More than once he's saved my team's bacon.

It looked grim for awhile, but I think things are improving.

Survived Mocha Friday

November 17, 2012 by Adam in Family

Okay, it wasn't that bad.  I did seem to have endless meetings, crises, and assorted craziness.  I think I managed 30 minutes of work on my projects at the very end of the day.

We had all the kids last night, the usual madness of homework, silliness, and emotional trauma.  Emma was particularly sweet, wishing me a wonderful day as I took everyone off to work.

I'm excited for the weekend - full of library trips, ballet, and Mythbusters.

The Madness Continues

November 15, 2012 by Adam in Family

Work continues to be crazy.  Yet more people leaving, though fortunately none from our team.  I'm really swamped after taking on a lot of responsibilities from our lead who left a couple weeks ago.  Everyone who walks by my cubicle wants to sit and talk.  It's nice, though difficult to get things done.

Life on the home front has been generally positive.  Berry was very excited to lose her tooth the other day, along with the dollar that came with it.  The actual tooth removal part, which she did herself, involved a lot of tears.  Fortunately the excitement overcame the momentary pain and suffering.

Emma made it to school after almost a week away.  Whatever illness she had has finally passed.  She also has a new obsession of Monster High, obtained after watching lots of Monster High YouTube videos while she was sick.  She ended up blowing nearly $100 on toys over the last few days.  Hopefully it sustains her with happiness and joy.

The holiday madness is slowly approaching.  I think we can do Thanksgiving with the kids on actual Thanksgiving.  I'm also trying really hard to have all the kids Christmas morning, something that hasn't happened before.  I need to start gearing up for Christmas presents too.

Fortunately Joanna and I have a hot date tonight.  I think we're going out to a fancy place to eat, as she's all gussied up from some work event.  She even curled her hair this morning.

Go-live Monday

November 12, 2012 by Adam in Family

We had a big go-live at work this morning.  The best part was when things went horribly wrong and I accidentally sent out 28,000+ emails.  Fortunately only a couple thousand went out and I managed to purge the rest from our email queue.

The kids are out of school, and I managed to come home to hang out with them for a little.  Around one, Sam and Emma are going to their mom's, with Sam returning after dinner.  Haylee is coming to watch Duncan and Berry.  I'm going to keep working away, trying to get things done.

I did get a kinda-sorta promotion today.  I'm the temporary functional lead of the developer group.  There's not much of a pay increase, and I worry I won't have time to do computer programming.  Hopefully I can give our team some stability in the madness ahead.

The weekend was good, if uneventful.  Some highlights include taking kids to Toys-R-Us, discovering a warren of small mammals under the chicken coop, and playing the new X-Com game.  I think Emma is finally on the mend and may actually make it to school tomorrow.

Good Morning!

November 12, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes!  It's been a few whirlwind days of work and fun, but today is quiet.  It's my first day off in a month, so I'm still in my PJ's and gearing up for some house cleaning.  Love you all!

Happy Birthday, Seraph

November 10, 2012 by Sue in Wielesek

A card and small present have been wending their way to you. We all miss you!

Have fun with your sweet family,


Happy Birthday Seraph

November 10, 2012 by Lohring in Lohring

I'm getting really senile and almost forgot.  Ana, with her younger brain reminded me.  Have a great day.

Sickly Mocha Friday

November 09, 2012 by Adam in Family

I'm generally okay, but Emma's home from school and Berry and Sam have a persistent cough.  Joanna and I are working from home and Duncan has the day off for parent-teacher conferences.  It's a quirky day.

I worked from home yesterday as well, getting a tremendous amount of work done and hanging out with no-school Duncan.

I dropped off Berry this morning, giving her plenty of jumpies, and then swung by Full City for my delicious Friday mocha.  Tonight is date night, though I'm not quite sure what we're up to.  I suppose I could holler across the room to find out.

Another Monday

November 05, 2012 by Adam in Family

We stumbled to work and school this morning.  It was nice having the extra hour, though it felt that we needed it to some degree.  Emma in particular was moaning and groaning from over an hour playing Wii Fit on Sunday.  I think she'll survive.

The weekend was generally productive.  Friday night Joanna and I went out, listening to English folk music at the library and then off to vegetarian Chinese food.  Saturday morning I hooked up a second security camera, much to the amusement of the kids.  Later that night, Sam and I tried to sneak by them in the dark, which didnt' work very well.  In the afternoon I took the girls to the library.  The evening wound up with pizza and Mythbusters.

Sunday was pretty busy, with the little kids going to a couple birthday parties.  Duncan really had fun at Splash.  I managed to get Sam through his homework, which ended up being pretty tedious.  Hopefully he's caught up from when he was sick.  I took Sam and Emma for a walk that afternoon.  Otherwise we hung out, with Emma playing Wii Fit for hours.  My mom, Yayoe, and John came for dinner, which was exceptionally tasty.

Post-Halloween Mocha

November 02, 2012 by Adam in Family

Busy today, my mocha fueling me forward through the work madness.  There's so much work to do, and so many organizationally weird distractions.

I had lots of fun on Halloween, going as a job applicant.  I ended up winning the department's costume party, I mostly because I put together a fake resume that I handed out.  Of course, it's all true.

We took Emma and Berry out trick-or-treating.  We hit the main houses, and then Berry and Joanna went out again to return with a huge pile of candy.  Berry sat there and kept eating while Joanna went to fetch Duncan from his party.  I think Berry didn't really want it towards the end, but felt obligated to try.

Jamie and I had our parent-teacher conferences for Emma on Thursday.  Emma is adored by her teacher.  She's doing well in everything, with the recognition that Emma's spelling is pretty marginal.  On the plus side she's started to read and write lots more this year, so hopefully it's a self-correcting issue.  Emma strangely rated herself as poor in math, even though she's doing great (and Sam was successfully teaching her Algebra the other day).

Sam's been slowly catching up with his homework.  We made Fimo and magnet molecular models last night, showing off ionic bonding.  I also picked up a 2-pack of Orcs Must Die 2 and we've been playing co-op together.  Great fun.

Looking forward to the weekend.  Joanna and I are going out for dinner due to the Wednesday Halloween festivities.  No big plans, except perhaps to clean the minivan.  I suspect someone's having a birthday party - they seem endless.

Happy Halloween

October 31, 2012 by Adam in Family

Since we all have to apply for our jobs here at work, I'm going as a job applicant for Halloween.  It sometimes takes people awhile to figure out why I'm wearing a suit and tie, and directors are confused when I tell them I'm looking forward to the interview.  Eventually they figure it out and have a good laugh at the absurdity.

Joanna and the little kids look great, and were very eager to go to work today.  Joanna is doing reverse trick-or-treating at work, dressed as a care bear.  I think it's a childhood dream finally fulfilled.

I have a parent-teacher conference with Emma's teacher tonight.  Berry, Emma, Joanna, and I are going trick-or-treating while Duncan hangs with friends.  Then we shuffle everyone around to settle into the evening routine.

Everyone remember to print out game coupons for Plants versus Zombies and hand them out tonight.  It's an awesome game.

Pumpkin-Filled Weekend

October 29, 2012 by Adam in Family

I think we mostly got over our illnesses this weekend.  Sam got really sick Friday night, but had transitioned to an annoying cough by this morning.  Today was the first day all the kids made it to school in over a week.

Friday night Joanna and I went out to dinner, getting massive amounts of Thai food that lasted the weekend.  Saturday morning I went into overdrive, cleaning up after the chaos of the previous week.  Emma arrived late morning and she dragged me downstairs to play.  I found a new hide-and-seek spot above the TV cabinet that I can actually fit in.  We mostly puttered around at home for the rest of the day - at one point Emma and I wandered around finding spell components.  She also excitedly picked up a calligraphy pen at Oregon Art Supplies.  Emma and I went food shopping, and then Sam arrived for dinner.

Sunday was a little busy.  We saw Adam Miller play folk songs at the library - I eagerly introduced myself.  Sam and I did a ton of homework, and we still have more to come.  Joanna organized a pumpkin carving activity, which I sadly didn't have time for.  Somewhere in there I said my final farewells to Sadie, who I begged not to drive into Boston in the middle of the hurricane.  She will be missed.

Perfect preparation

October 28, 2012 by Sue in Wielesek

for the perfect storm. I talked with Sadie this afternoon. She says they are well prepared, with a propane stove and lots of matches and that she will remember to open the window when they use the propane stove. Also, in preparation for having no refrigeration, she drank up all the white wine, which of course should only be served cold. It's such a relief to know that you children can face all crises with aplomb.

Scruffy Mocha Friday

October 26, 2012 by Adam in Family

It's been a crazy few days.  I spent most of Wednesday throwing up, as did Joanna and Duncan.  Sam got sick, but never nauseous.  Emma missed school all week.  Yesterday I was better, and worked from home being amazingly productive.  All sorts of systems crashed and I helped put it back together again.

I did my best to get Sam and Emma to school today, feeding them and giving them painkillers.  Sadly it didn't work out and I dropped them off on Jamie's door step with instructions to get some rest.

One of the side effects of my extended illness is that I haven't shaved for a few days.  Emma told me I needed to shave soon.  Joanna's rather fond of it.  I compromised and let everyone know that I'd keep it through our date night tonight.

Duncan's been quite cheerful lately, which I greatly appreciate.  This morning he lit right up when I told him there was a new version of Minecraft.  Berry was sweet when everyone was sick - tucking Joanna into her bed.  Emma's been loopy, as has Sam.  Sam got his midterms and mostly got A's and B's.  I need to follow up on the one C in his advanced science class.  He evidently missed a couple days before a test.

Looking forward to the weekend and taking it a little easly.

Still Alive

October 25, 2012 by Adam in Family

Last night was a mix of Joanna, Duncan, and myself all repeatedly throwing up.  Berry still has a bit of a cough, and Sam feels crappy still (his description).  Emma stayed home today too, according to Jamie.

I'm only now starting to feel vaguely human again.  My headache is fading and I managed to do the dishes and take out the recycling.  I haven't been able to keep much food down, though.  Soup, apple juice, and an orange are about it.  I think I was getting somewhat dehydrated for awhile there.

Joanna's been really sweet to me.  She started getting sick last night, so she was feeling a little perkier this morning.  Berry had moments of sweetness as well, the one healthy person in the house.

We'll see what happens tomorrow.  Duncan's staying home.  I may work from home as well.  Looking forward to being healthy again.

Sickly Monday

October 22, 2012 by Adam in Family

The kids were pretty sick this weekend.  Emma had a fever all day Sunday.  Berry was throwing up last night.  I've got a bit of a cough, and both Joanna and I were up with kids most of the night.  I worked from home and kept an eye on everyone.  Now I'm sick of sitting in front of my computer.

The weekend was relatively low-key.  Saturday was my usual busy day of shopping and laundry.  I ran network cable between the top floor and the basement router, improving connection speeds considerably.  We took the kids to get their flu mist vaccinations.  Pizza and Mythbusters was had.

Sunday was extremely lazy, as most everyone was sick.  Joanna performed with the choir and took in her scones and cookies for sale.  Fortunately she brought the leftovers back, which I promptly devoured.

Mocha Friday

October 19, 2012 by Adam in Family

It's the end of the day, and I'm about ready to head out the door.  Work fallout continues due to my functional lead leaving.  Lots of conversations about what we're going to do next.

I'm really looking forward to the weekend, hanging out with kids and taking it easy.  I have a project that involves drilling holes in walls that will hopefully improve the upstairs Internet connection.  There are birthday parties, flu mist things for the kids, overnight play dates, pizza and Mythbusters, and pumpkin patches to look forward to.

Joanna continues to be cute and awesome.  What else could I ask for?

Another Wave of Illness

October 18, 2012 by Adam in Family

I left work Tuesday afternoon, feeling feverish and shaky.  The pain meds helped, but it wasn't until after a long nap did I feel mostly human again.  On Wednesday, Emma was sick, so I picked her up and kept an eye on her until Jamie was off work.  We're all at work and school today, but my tummy feels a little off.  I ran at lunch, but I'm not sure I'm up for fencing tonight.

I just found out that one of my co-workers is leaving PeaceHealth.  I fear this is the first of many.  Strange times ahead.

Knee Injury

October 15, 2012 by Lohring in Lohring

I got in a hurry at work Friday and tripped over a computer cord.  I fell very hard on my left knee, the one I heart years ago.  I was afraid I would have serious problems, but it seems to be a lot better today.  It's still swolen and I don't have all the movement back yet, but I can do one leg squats and get into my car.

New Scale Boat

October 15, 2012 by Lohring in Lohring

I've been slowly building a new model boat for the Gas Scale Class.  I picked the $ Bill, an obscure 1962 unlimited hydroplane.  However, it has a duck and a $ on the side, perfect for a U of O graduate.  With a lot of help from my friends, especially Brian Buaas (the big , bald guy with a beard and a cute daughter at the wedding) we finally got it running the morning of the Northwest Scale Championships.  There it proved to be the fastest boat, but Brian blew it off while leading in the final.  I was still very happy.

See the final here:

Where'd My Mocha Friday Go?

October 15, 2012 by Adam in Family

Thursday night was fencing night, and pretty fun for both Emma and I.  Sam's dropped out, so I started taking saber lessons with Emma.  I ended up getting paired with another guy who was pretty good, and getting very sweaty along the way.

Friday was a little nutty.  The kids didn't have school, so I was rushing about keeping them fed and managed while I worked away.  I did manage to make myself a mocha, which hit the spot.  Jamie showed up to take away Sam and Emma.  Then Haylee arrived to watch the little kids.  We headed out to Joanna's doctor appointment after lunch.  Her back x-ray looked good, and everything seems fine. 

We worked away in the afternoon, and then went out to Agate Street Laboratory for dinner.  Afterward was Arsenic and Old Lace at the Very Little Theater.  Quite entertaining.

We got Emma in the morning, ate breakfast, and then went out on our adventures for the day.  First was the library, then Saturday Market for lunch and the farmer's market.  Emma cajoled me into buying her a bansai plant, helping me work away doing yard work in the afternoon.  Sam, Duncan, and I went food shopping in the late afternoon, followed by scooping up Sam for pizza and Mythbusters that night.

Sunday morning had my mom picking up Emma, Duncan, and Berry for breakfast.  It was Berry's half birthday, so she got presents for breakfast and cake for dessert.  We managed a fair amount of hang-out time, and I actually got to play video games in between the laundry, homework, and house projects.

Mid-Week Update

October 11, 2012 by Adam in Family

Nothing too exciting happening, which is nice for a change.  Sam was sick for a couple days.  We spent yesterday following up on his story for school.  Tomorrow Sam and Emma have the day off school and we're getting Emma Saturday morning.  Tonight I'm hoping Emma and I can go fencing.  Berry is learning how to tie her shoes.  Small victories, all around.

Another Weekend, Come and Gone

October 08, 2012 by Adam in Family

It was a generally pleasant weekend.  We had all the kids Friday night, and a hearty waffle breakfast the next morning.  Saturday involved a lot of running around for me - we went to the library, I went food shopping, and we picked up pizza for our traditional Saturday meal.  Sam and I worked on his long list of homework, papers, math, and Spanish.  The amount of homework he gets is sometimes daunting.

Joanna took all the kids but Emma to church.  I had Sam work on finishing up his story for school, and went through my "Winter is Coming" checklist.  I got the fireplace working, put away the air conditioners, mowed the lawn, turned the compost, and generally was very productive on the remaining caffiene buzz from breakfast. 

In the afternoon we all went down to Skinner's Butte park and hiked to the top.  It was a little grueling, especially as Sam was starting to get a cold.  We made it down and played on the funky whale sculpture until it was time to return home and get ready for family dinner.

It was nice seeing Yayoe, John, mom, and Bob.  We ate way too much food and followed up with Joanna's apple pie.  I think I'm done eating for a few weeks now. 

This morning was a little crazy - Sam and Emma both claimed illnesses, and Berry didn't want to get dressed.  The end result was that Sam stayed home, Emma went to school, and I robotically dressed Berry and got her teeth brushed in 60 seconds flat.

Busy, busy.

Mocha Friday

October 05, 2012 by Adam in Family

I just finished the last of my fine beverage and I'm about ready to put on headphones, zone out, and write code.  I'm giddy with anticipation.

The week has been relatively uneventful.  The kids have had mild illnesses all week, but seem to be doing relatively well now.  It was fun having Emma over last night.  We ended up not going fencing, as she wasn't feeling great, and instead we did "homework" out of a workbook Joanna got her.  It's funny how much she enjoys me asking questions, writing her answers down, and then grading her.

It's a kid-ful night tonight.  I've suggested a park-in-the-dark run after dinner.  I don't think we have any firm plans for the weekend.  I'd personally like to put kids to work getting the yard ready for wet weather.  Sam has a writing assignment.  We've got family dinner on Sunday.

Life is good.

Personal Day

October 05, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

Robbie and I are taking a personal day tomorrow (Isabell has the day off at her school).  We're going hiking in the 4th of July Canyon - look for some beautiful pictures in the coming days!

Quick Family Update

October 03, 2012 by Adam in Family

We're halfway through the week, which seems hard to believe.  I swear it just began.  I'm at home with Duncan and Berry this morning.  Yesterday they got headaches after school and a bit of a fever.  This morning they're gorging themselves on My Little Pony and seem mostly improved.

Sam's been slammed with homework this week.  We did math and most of another paper.  He has a story he needs to write by Monday.  Busy, busy.

Hot date tonight.  Not sure where.

Remembering Colette

October 02, 2012 by Sue in Wielesek

The last year has been sort of sad for us "old girls", losing Colette and having Hanni move.Yayoe and I will try to be extra funny to make up for it. (You play and sing, Yayoe, and I'll try out comedy routines.)

Joanna, I tried to make my donation to Volunteers in Medicine so they would send you a nice note, but given my skill with billing formats, you, Adam and all the kids may each get a bill for $50 and a request to donate your teeth.


October 02, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy, happy birthday Greg!  We miss you, and Sadie too!

Back to Work

October 01, 2012 by Adam in Family

It was a bit of a struggle getting everyone out of the house this morning.  There seemed to be a general consensus that it would have been far easier to simply stay at home and spend the day playing and enjoying the sunshine.  Alas, my sense of duty was too strong and we all arrived at our respective schools and work places.  Even poor Emma, who complained of a stomach ache all morning.

The weekend was fairly routine, which was quite nice.  We swam at Tamarak on Saturday, to everyone's delight.  Pizza and Bang Goes the Theory as a rousing success.  I continued on my bedroom rearranging, repairing an antique table to put in front of the window.  Hopefully I can resurrect Yayoe's computer to use up there - a hopefully key part arrives today.

Friday night had Duncan, Berry, Joanna, and I going to Mazzi's to celebrate Colette's birthday.  It was pretty nice and low-key.  I got to do some crayon drawings.  We raised a glass in Colette's honor.

Sam had some homework over the weekend, so we worked on a paper and did math.  Emma had an urge to buy a dragon pendant, so she worked away for money, quite diligently.  Duncan had a touch of a headache last night.  Berry's constipation returned.  Still, everyone seemed to have a generally enjoyable weekend.  I managed a fair amount of video game playing, which is a sure sign of success.

I walked kids over to my mom's house, where they loved playing in the gravel mound.  Emma wanted to pick up my mom's cloak, which evidently my dad had made for her, forty years ago.  I think it's part of a Halloween costume.



October 01, 2012 by Sue in Wielesek


October 01, 2012 by Sue in Wielesek


October 01, 2012 by Sue in Wielesek

Trying to post photos

October 01, 2012 by Sue in Wielesek


I'm trying to post photos of the house digging.

It feels like this has been a hard or tiring ...

September 29, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

It feels like this has been a hard or tiring week for everyone I've encountered.  Here's a little inspiration.

Mocha Friday

September 28, 2012 by Adam in Family

It's a busy day, my mocha long gone.  Everyone wants me to fix something or do something, which today seems a little more exhausting than flattering.

I took Sam and Emma to fencing last night.  For Sam, it was his last time.  I'll get him on the treadmill for a half hour when Emma and I go in.  I threatened to make Sam go until he could beat me, but I settled for a casual bout after practice.  Emma seems to be enjoying herself still, though she was complaining about being sore this morning.  I completely understood - I woke up in the middle of the night to take pain killers and eat two bowls of cereal.  It's exhausting.

I took the younger kids to school, lauching them out the door at their respective places of learning.  Emma had to run the gauntlet of hugs before escaping.  She has a run at school today to raise money and I plan on going over to show support.

Tonight we're celebrating Colette's birthday with a dinner at Mazzi's.  Tomorrow we're doing brunch with some friends (parents of kids' Duncan goes to school with).  Sam has homework.  I want to try to put together the upstairs office/workshop area, as last weekend I frantically rearranged to create some space. 

Broke ground

September 26, 2012 by Sue in Wielesek

Hi, we don't have a mountain behind our house any more!

And I got through the League of Women Voters Luncheon at the Hilton with many compliments. I'm grooming two people to take over my job as Lunch Lady.

I talked to Yayoe and it sounds as though she had quite a fall. She says she's feeling better.

And Anita had major surgery to remove a malignant tumor; the prognosis is pretty good, but it was very sudden.

I'm missing everyone.

Belated Weekend Update

September 25, 2012 by Adam in Family

This is a little late, as I was home with two sick kids yesterday.  Emma was a little draggy over the weekend, and Sam started getting a little sick Sunday night.  Fortunately Sam perked up last night and we went for a walk to the reservoir to watch the sun set.  I think Emma's on the mend too.  Berry was a little cranky yesterday, but I think she's doing okay today.


The weekend was relatively uneventful.  Saturday involved a library trip with Duncan and Emma.  After lunch, I took the two to the Level Up arcade and Emma played her first old-fashioned video game (Joust).  It was very nostalgic and the kids both had a good time.

Later in the day I went food shopping and picked up pizza for dinner.  Sam arrived relatively early, so we all watched Bang Goes the Theory and had a good time. 

Sunday was very low-key, with the only outing being Duncan and I going to the used book store.  He loaded up on Pokemon books, sweetly getting one for Emma.  I got a couple books for Sam.  It was nice to be a little lazy for a change.

Zombies, Spaceships, and Wastelands

September 21, 2012 by Adam in Adam's Games

As usual, I have more games than time these days.  Sam's been playing Lost Souls constantly, badgering me to play.  I've seen the many hours he's put into the game, and sadly realize that those days are behind me.

FTL arrived last weekend, a cute indie game that's all about spaceships in trouble.  As you jump across the galaxy being chased by the rebel fleet, you run into pirates, aliens, and other odd things.  Ships get upgraded.  Your crew becomes more skilled or eaten by space spiders.  It's incredibly hard, even on easy, and I've yet to win the game.

The Walking Dead is a mostly adventure game based on the comic book series of the same name.  You end up surviving a zombie apocalypse and taking care of a little girl.  Mostly the gameplay involves making really hard decisions, along with building empathy for all the characters.  Some of the choices are really hard, and I occasionally need a break after making them.

Borderlands 2 came out a few days ago, a cartoonish shooter that doesn't take itself too seriously.  I'm waiting for Sam, Matt, and Josh to get it so we can all play together.  In the meantime, I'm building up a character so I can be vaugely helpful.


Mocha Friday

September 21, 2012 by Adam in Family

I'm sore today - fencing yesterday was pretty grueling.  I need to work on more subtle, precise movements.  Emma got to gear up and have some practice fights with an opponent, which she really enjoyed.  Sam learned how to judge a bout.  I'm not sure how long I'll keep Sam, but I'm forcing him to go for a month before he can switch to another activity.

Joanna and I finally caught the cold that the kids have had.  I've come in to work, though Joanna is at home today.  Mostly it's the dry throat that's annoying at night - otherwise I'm mostly okay.

It's been a typical week of homework, school events, and managing kids.  Duncan really enjoys Coyote Kids and wants to go around our yard gathering nature things and taping it into his notebook.  Berry wants to take chess.  The three younger kids were so sweet to each other last night and this morning.  I foresee lots of good play time over the weekend.

Back to Work

September 17, 2012 by Adam in Family

We had a great weekend - low key, beautiful, and pleasant.

Friday night Joanna went to church and I got the kids to bed.  They conked right out and I obsessively played FTL, the new game Sam and I picked up.  Eventually Joanna returned, and I sadly stopped my epic journey of a little ship facing incredible odds.

Saturday morning I picked up Sam and Emma and helped change Jamie's flat tire.  It was a little busy with food shopping, laundry, homework, gardening, dishes, and the like.  We ended up watching a BBC show called Bang Goes the Theory which people really liked.  It's very Mythbusters-like, with a bit more actual science (though with flame tornadoes and a vortex cannon).

Sam and I got around to playing Elder Sign, a dice-based Lovecraftian game that we saw on Tabletop.  It's co-op, and Sam and I barely managed to beat back the elder god and save the world.  I did manage to drive four of my investigators insane, so Sam ended up doing most of the work.  I think we'll try it again, depending on the homework load.

The kids were generally sweet and pleasant all weekend.  I took everyone down to the park last night after dinner and they loudly enjoyed themselves, laughing hysterically all the way.  Joanna continues to mend away, reducing her painkillers to the point where she's splitting pills in half.  Life's good.

waiting for my new Dell computer

September 17, 2012 by Yayoe in Yayoe

Hi computer died over a week ago so I've been out of it for awhile but currently borrowing my friend's laptop so I can connect with the world again. Hope all is well with everyone. Sorry to hear about your accident Sue. Adam I hope your reapplication to work goes well. Joanna..get well soon..glad your pain is resolving. Sadie...great photo of you in Scotland. Lohring...super photos of your trip too! Sound like the kids are settled in with a new nanny and fun activities.

Several days ago I took a long tumble from the top of my garden to the bottom and felt lucky that I wasn't head injured from the fall which was caused from wearing inappropriate shoes to work in the garden.. I paid my stupid tax in full and learned a good lesson. It's amazing how quickly a body can roll down a hill over rocks and dirt in a nano second. That's my mischief for the summer. Take care.

Fencing Mocha Friday

September 14, 2012 by Adam in Family

I took Sam and Emma down to Roosevelt last night to attend the Eugene Fencers Club.  It's still run by the same person I had 27 years ago.  He's still a funny, kind man, albeit with much less hair.  Emma had a great time, as her friend Kate could be there.  I took Sam kicking and screaming, but he actually had a pretty good time once we got there.  He stuck with me and was brought into the adults' fencing group, which was quite informal.  Both of us got individual lessons from the more experienced folks.  I had a couple bouts with others in the club, winning both.  Admittedly one hadn't fenced for longer than I and the other was a woman in her sixties.  Still, a good time was had by all.

Joanna continues to be on the mend.  She's down to a single pain pill, mostly to taper off slowly.  It's pretty amazing, considering the amount of pain she was in before the surgery.  She's still healing, and cautious about moving around, but is doing so much better.

Work is being crazy, and I get to reapply for my current job along with everyone else.  I'm fairly certain all will be fine, though I may get my salary changed through this whole process.  The amount of fury at the worker level is pretty amazing, and I think a number of well qualified people are going to go elsewhere.  My plan is to hunker down and focus on the work and my customers.

Joanna's doing things with church tonight, and Sam and Emma are at their mom's.  My plan is to get the little kids in bed and then hunker down with some video games that are coming out today - a remake of Half Life 1 and an "explore the galaxy" game called FTL.  Fun times.

Scottish Sweets

September 14, 2012 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

My favorite Scotland experience in one of the magical sweets shops:


It rained so much in Edinburgh, people would do anything to keep dry: 

Helpful Dez

September 13, 2012 by Sue in Wielesek

Thanks to Dez, I'm the equivalent of a first grader, rather than totally inept, with the computer. He showed me the magic two finger enlarger on my "mouse pad"

and Adam's page has gone from a minute page, nearly indecipherable, to something which fillsthe entire space nicely, and legibly.

My accident bad luck continues. First the car accident and foot damage, then the fall and the twisted knee, and I was rearended by a motorcycle on my way  to the farm yesterday. Not bad, and I think I'll ask if the insurance company will spring for a couple of massages right away.

The contractor is ready to start on the house, and we're busily cleaning up the back so they have room to work. We having Rich Slayton do the work, and I think it will be really great. Don't hesitate to go out and see the farm; our tenants like company, and we've done a lot of work.

In the meantime, have fun tonight fencing.

New Nanny and Level Up

September 13, 2012 by Adam in Family

We met our new nanny in person yesterday.  Haylee seems a smart, enthusiastic person.  Berry and Duncan took to her immediately.  Today Sam and Emma meet her, which I assume will be just fine.

Joanna and I went out to Japanese food and then stopped by the Level Up arcade.  It was fun playing ancient games that I enjoyed as a kid.  Joanna's rusty at Pac Man, but way better than I.  I ended up getting 3rd on the high score board for Missle Command.  Good times.

Tonight Emma and I go fencing.  I'm going to drag Sam along, assuming he'll let me.  I think he weighs as much as me, so it may be challenging to haul him along.  We have a good time sword fighting in the basement, so hopefully it'll be enjoyable for all.

Mid-Week Update

September 12, 2012 by Adam in Family

Sadly I don't have any pretty pictures like my other family members.  The school week is moving along.  This morning I took Duncan and Berry to school and they cheerfully jumped out of the pull-up lane, with Duncan sweetly offering to walk Berry to her class.

Last night both Sam and I forgot about that pesky homework thing, so we realized at ten o'clock that he still had math to do.  Fortunately we moved through it pretty quickly, despite our sleepiness.

Sadly Kate can't do fencing with Emma, at least for a couple months.  It'll just be the two of us, and hopefully Sam.  He's of a size where I can't haul him physically places, but perhaps I can cajole him to go with us.

Joanna and I are going on a hot date tonight.  No idea where.

Victoria harbor

September 12, 2012 by Lohring in Lohring

The harbor and Empress Hotel.  I think I stayed there as a child in the 1950s.

Craigdarroch Castle

September 12, 2012 by Lohring in Lohring

Craigdarroch Castle, an amazing 1890s home designed by an Oregon architect

Fort Rodd

September 12, 2012 by Lohring in Lohring

Defending the realm in WW II

Fisgard Lighthouse

September 12, 2012 by Lohring in Lohring

Tall Lighthouse

Italian Guarden

September 12, 2012 by Lohring in Lohring

More Gardens

Sunken Guarden

September 12, 2012 by Lohring in Lohring

The beautiful Butchart Guardens

BC Parliment Grounds

September 12, 2012 by Lohring in Lohring

Ana, Queen Victoria, and the BC Parliment building

Victoria Trip

September 12, 2012 by Lohring in Lohring

Ana and I just got back from Victoria, BC.  The weather was perfect and it was a great break for Ana.  Some pictures:

How did we get to September?

September 12, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

What happened??  I think there was a major time warp.  I have managed to miss wishing Jordan a happy birthday, Sadie and Greg a happy anniversary, and will probably forget to wish Bob a happy birthday too, if I don't do it now.  Happy birthday Bob!!!!!!!

We miss everyone like craziness!!!

First Week Blur

September 10, 2012 by Adam in Family

The first week of school has been a bit of a blur.  Everyone seems to be doing remarkably well.  Berry tromped cheerfully off to school this morning, Duncan dutifully stood in line with the rest of his class, and Emma gave a kiss and leaped out of the van.  Even Sam reports his classes seem good.  Over the weekend I picked up some Soviet-era science fiction for his chosen book.  Interesting and quirky.

The new kid schedule is here.  Sam was at Jamie's over the weekend, so I hung out with the younger kids all day.  First we went to the library and returned with huge volumes of books.  After lunch we went to Hendrick's park at Emma's urging and had a great time exploring nature. 

My Saturday was amazing as I got a full night's sleep.  Duncan has been getting up in the middle of the night and wanting someone to put him back to bed.  Our innate compassion has waned a bit, and now we're trying to encourage him to get back to sleep himself.  Saturday Joanna went down, and I blissfully slept away.  This morning it was my turn.

Fencing starts up this week, which excites Emma immensely.  Our new nanny is appearing this Thursday.  Jessica's work switched back to mornings, so she's semi-available, though she might get a full time teaching job relatively soon.  It's all very complicated - hopefully we can sort it out.

This week at work I continue to work on this provider compensation system.  It's crazy that it'll move around millions of dollars every week.  I'm trying hard not to screw up.

Mocha First Day of School

September 05, 2012 by Adam in Family

I'm pretty wiped out, having consistently gotten less than enough sleep for the last week.  Duncan has been waking up in the middle of the night, calling out to have someone get him back to sleep.  After the first couple nights, I've been increasingly firm that he needs to be able to get back to sleep by himself, though that hasn't quite sunk in yet.  Last night Duncan was up twice, Berry once, and I got up with a headache somewhere in the middle.  I opted for a mocha when I got to work to keep myself semi-functional.

It's the first day of school for everyone but Sam.  I dropped Berry, Duncan, and Joanna off at Charlemagne.  Berry was great, cheerfully heading in for her first day in the public school system.  Duncan needed a little more settling.  I drove over to see Emma at her first day of school - she seemed quite cheerful.

Now I'm at work, chugging away at getting providers paid.  The work is a little grueling at times.

Joanna continues to heal.  Her hip is hurting today and she feels tired.  Fortunately her back feels pretty good. 

Last Weekend of Summer

September 04, 2012 by Adam in Family

Tomorrow is the first day of school, and I'm feeling vaguely prepared.  I still have some fees to pay at Roosevelt and I need to get Sam's stuff together.  My mom took Emma clothes shopping yesterday, so she's looking spiffy.  Duncan and Berry are good to go, I think.

We picked a nanny - Haylee, who seemed enthusiastic and had great references.  The only catch is that she's temporary, going for a "semester at sea," whatever that means. 

The weekend was relatively uneventful.  We hung out with kids and Joanna recovered.  We filled the pool and had a couple fun days playing.  At one point everyone but Joanna was in there, laughing maniacally.

The irrigation guys are here, fixing the sprinkler system after two broken years.  I was feeling too poor to get it fixed, so perhaps it's a sign of personal economic recovery.

Mocha Friday

August 31, 2012 by Adam in Family

This week has been fairly uneventful.  I continue to be busy with house and kids while Joanna mends.  Duncan will call out "Adam!" in the middle of the night now, as I've tended to be the one to get him back to sleep.  Yesterday was a little rough - Jessica took them to the zoo in Portland and it didn't go particularly well.  Still, the little kids have generally been cheerful.  I look forward to Sam and Emma arriving tonight, as they've been at their mom's since Monday.

We continue to look for a nanny.  I think we've found a couple that are okay, and one more interview this Saturday.  I always get a little nervous getting so close to the wire, but I think it'll all sort out.

The weekend will likely be low-key, getting kids ready for school and letting Joanna continue to mend.  She's cut way back on painkillers and we see the surgeon today for follow-up.  I think the plan is for Joanna to show up to work in person next week, though perhaps with the occasional nap.

Wednesday Already

August 29, 2012 by Adam in Family

I've been crazy busy all week, and haven't had a chance to post for ages.

The weekend was good, and relatively uneventful.  Pizza and Mythbusters, library trips, and running around outside was typical.  Games were played.  Joanna continued to mend.  I'm getting Sam waking up at a normal time in preparation for school.

Joanna has been doing surprisingly well, sleeping less and cutting way back on painkillers.  Her goal is to be able to drive again, and is trying to go below pre-surgery levels today.  There are still a lot of sore parts, but I think those are temporary.  Her back seems much better than before, though with a new set of aches to sort out.

I've been doing kid watching and house care full-tilt these last few days.  I'm a little groggy from getting up in the middle of the night to get Duncan back to bed.  I'm also increasingly involved in the bedtime routine as it's challenging for Joanna still.  Over the weekend, Emma and I helped read stories to the kids, and then I'd do the three-kid circut, trying to get everyone to sleep.

Sam and I had a good time programming on Sunday, adding graphics to our dungeon generator program.  We also played through some more Arma II levels Sam designed, scavaging the wasteland for guns and working vehicles.  Good times.

We also continue to look for a nanny.  We Skype interviewed a college student yesterday that looked promising.  Joanna has her eyes on another upcoming interviewee, in part because she professes to cook well.

Home Mocha Friday

August 24, 2012 by Adam in Family

I'm at home, about ready to sign into work and check email.  A big mocha sits next to me, in a big pirate mug that Sam made me for my birthday.  Tasty.

Joanna continues to slowly recover, though the pain continues to be fairly insistent.  Her stomach continues to be swollen, though it theoretically gets better from here on out.  The general plan for the next few days is to take it easy.

My mom came over and brought us dinner last night, which was a hit with everyone.  I'll miss the help she and Yayoe have been these last few days.  Emma pitched in with reading to Duncan and Berry last night, much to their amusement.

Sam and I stayed up way too late working on a new computer program.  He wanted procedurally generated dungeons, so we were whipping up corridors and caverns before bedtime.  I got up in the middle of the night to get Duncan back to sleep, but afterward couldn't go to sleep myself.  All I could think about was generating dungeon maps.

Emma's social calendar is busy this morning.  First she's going to breakfast with my mom.  This afternoon Kate is coming over to play.  It looks like she won't be in the same class with Kate or Daniel next year, which is a little sad.  At least they'll have recess.

This upcoming week we need to start looking for a new nanny.  We'll miss Jessica terribly, though she promises to babysit in the evening, Fridays, and school holidays.

Back Home

August 23, 2012 by Adam in Family

We're finally home, which is pleasant and quiet.  I'm working and Joanna's playing games on her phone.  Both of us are a little less than 100% today.  I'm fighting a headache, something I've had for the last couple days.  Joanna was told that her stomach would reach peak swelling today, and it's been pretty sore all day.

Duncan and Berry really missed us, and have been their usual bouncy selves.  I really appreciate my mom and Yayoe lending a hand with things.  My mom dropped everything two nights in a row to stay over and watch the kids.  My apologies to the ladies in the book club.  Last night Yayoe brought us dinner, entertained children with fake moustaches, and helped read stories.  It was incredibly helpful.

Sam and Emma arrive this afternoon.  I'll continue working from home, and plan on returning to the office next week.  There have been a number of wacky work developments, such as partnering with another big healthcare organization.  Our department is getting renamed, and I think I'm getting volunteered to help.

I'm also mentally preparing for the end of summer and more changes at home.  Jessica, our super nanny, can't watch the kids after school due to her job changing.  We're going to have to start the search for a new one, which is sad.  Hopefully it'll all work out.  Pretty soon we'll have kids back in school, and mornings will get busy once again.

Slowly Getting There

August 21, 2012 by Adam in Family

I spent the night in Joanna's recovery room.  The plan had been to go home and get the kids to bed, but the reality is that she wasn't doing as well as everyone thought.  I called my wonderful mother in a pinch, and she got the kids to bed and spent the night before passing the torch to Jessica this morning.

Joanna's been in a fair amount of pain, strangely not in her back but instead in her stomach.  Yesterday involved a lot of throwing up too, we think because of the antibiotics.  Fortunately we got the last round taken off the list of meds, and she started to improve this morning.

She's been up and about on a short walk, ate a little breakfast, and is currently napping again.  Her surgeon came and it sounds like she'll need to spend tonight at the hospital as well.  As with yesterday, I'm playing things by ear.  I'd like to get home, see the kids, take a shower, and eat a bowl of cereal.  We'll see if that can happen somehow.

Surgery Day

August 20, 2012 by Adam in Family

I'm sitting in the waiting room.  Just got the call from the surgeon that everything went well and she'll be in her recovery room within the hour.  Joanna now has a bit of metal in her spine.  Her heroic disc can finally rest after doing its best for twenty years after the car accident.

I'll hopefully be able to wander up relatively soon and spend the day with her.  If she's up for it, I'll have Jessica take the kids over for a visit.  Tonight it'll just be the little kids and I.  We'll probably have a quick dinner together and all sit down to watch some Adventure Time on the big screen.

I'm surprised how relieved I am that it's finally over.  Time for the recovery process.

No Mocha Camping Friday

August 19, 2012 by Adam in Family

Emma and I left Thursday night for her first camping trip.  She was quite excited.  We packed up the car after work and drove out to Cascara campground at Fall Creek.  For a moment, I thought we couldn't find an empty site, but we found one and it dawned on me that it was the exact same site Sam and I had gone camping at long ago.

We made a camp fire and roasted veggie hot dogs.  The tent was set up.  Emma enjoyed the burning part, and we stayed up until dust.  Unfortunately our fellow campers weren't particularly interested in communing with nature, and they were playing loud music until ten and yelling until quite late.  Poor Emma had a hard time sleeping, as did I.

In the morning we perked up and made ourselves breakfast, eggs and sausages.  We cleaned up, packed up, and inflated the raft for a morning excursion on the lake.  It was beautiful and quiet, and we aimlessly floated around for awhile.  There was a ton of algae in the lake, so we opted not to go swimming and headed home.

I picked up Sam from Jamie's house, and the three of us puttered about.  There were sword fights and computer games.  Emma played pretend with Berry, as Sam and I couldn't quite manage to play house the way she wanted.

Yesterday we went to the mall so Joanna could get a pedicure.  I think she's trying to pretty herself up before her surgery on Monday.  I had the little kids for a library run afterwards, returning with lots of loot.  We managed some play time in the basement, including crazy attacks by Duncan and Berry with inflatable hammers and axes they got at the fair.  I went food shopping and cleaned the chicken coop.  Pizza was obtained for our traditional meal.

I'm hoping to get some solid play time today and prepare for tomorrow's activities.  My plan for Monday is to get Joanna off at the crack of dawn in a taxi, and then head to the waiting room once Jessica arrives.  I really hope all goes well and we can dance again.


August 15, 2012 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

A few of Peter's pictures from our trip to Scotland.

Fencing and Camping

August 15, 2012 by Adam in Family

Just a quick mid-week update.  It's been crazy hot - I was sweating this morning just getting ready for work.

It looks like Emma and I are going to the Eugene Fencer's Club when school starts, along with her friend Kate.  I may pull rank and drag Sam to it as well, though he's skeptical.  I have fond memories of fencing from long ago, and think it would be fun to do with the kids.  It's good to have options when settling disputes.

Emma and I are going camping tomorrow, the first time for her.  I'm going to try hard to pack everything up tonight so we can hit the road and go.  I loaded up on relatively healthy camping food.  Hopefully we can find a way to make a fire and roast some veggie hot dogs, otherwise we're stuck with fruit and cereal.

Joanna and I are getting ready for her upcoming surgery.  We had the fun "what if you don't wake up" conversation in the car yesterday.  Mostly I'm doing things like picking up her special antibiotic skin cleanser and lining up kid assistance in the evenings.  I'm also going to work from hospital waiting rooms or home for the next week.  We'll see how it goes after that.

Breaking Out The Pool

August 13, 2012 by Adam in Family

We broke out the pool over the weekend.  Everyone loved it, and even Sam lept in, fully clothed as is the way of his people.  Berry and Duncan spent big parts of Saturday and Sunday playing with it, and Emma did a hundred laps (admittedly very short ones).

We were surprisingly busy this weekend, though I managed a bit of hang out time with everyone.  Duncan, Emma, and I played Terraria first thing in the morning, exploring the floating islands high above the ground.  After breakfast we gardened until Joanna went to get haircuts for Berry and Duncan.  I fed Sam breakfast and then we all went into the backyard to set up the pool.  They played with it as it was filling, and I spent the late afternoon food shopping and getting pizza for our Mythbusters-filled tradition.

Joanna's surgery next week.  That'll be a lifesaver.

Now we're sadly back at work.  I bought a new waterproof video camera to replace the one that broke over the weekend.  I want to get ready for my camping trip with Emma, who continues to be excited about it.

Mocha Friday

August 10, 2012 by Adam in Family

The week has zipped along.  Tuesday night Joanna and I went out to Soriah's for our hot date.  Duncan and I continued to play Terraria, with the boy begging Joanna for an extra ten minutes before bedtime to defeat Skeletron.  He'd been reading the Terraria wiki, learning about things he wanted to do.

Ducan went to the doctor's today for a checkup.  He's in the 85% for weight, off the scale for height - 60lbs and 4'4".  Jessica is taking the younger kids to Junction City for the Scandanavian Festival today.

Sam wants to watch a Russian post-apocalyptic movie with me this weekend.  I think we can carve out some time this weekend.  I enjoyed having Sam and Emma around last night - they were both very chatty.

Emma and I are trying hard to plan a camping trip next Thursday, likely the only time we could manage with Joanna's surgery coming up.  She set up a point system for eating healthy, and a day with daddy was her reward of choice.  She's quite excited to go and sleep in a tent. 

I'm also trying hard to get fencing set up.  Sam's being less than enthusiastic.  Emma wants to go, as does her friend Kate.  I think it would be fun for me as well.

As for the weekend, we have a family dinner on Sunday.  I'm going to beg people for assistance with dinner and kids the first few nights after Joanna's surgery.  I'm trying hard to have a low-key weekend before the madness hits, though we'll see how much I can manage.

Back from the Beach

August 07, 2012 by Adam in Family

Okay, it's actually my second day back from work.  We managed to escape the 104 degree temperatures over the weekend.  The weather was amazing for the beach, clear and warm all around.

Friday night was pizza and Mythbusters, and in the morning we headed out early to the coast  We ate at Nearly Normal's in Corvallis, then stopped by the beach to play in the sand.  Joanna built an epic sand castle, loosely modeled after the Lannister castle from Game of Thrones.  We flew Emma's kite, and watched a crazy guy surf with a massive kite attached to his board.

We rolled into my dad's house around four, unloaded, and Anna came over for dinner.  We ended up playing a really fun and funny game called Bubble Talk.  Either everyone let me win as it was my birthday present, or I'm actually a pretty funny guy.  I suspect the former.

Sunday we packed up, went to the Newport aquarium, and ate in this quirky, arty restaraunt.  I was a little worn out by the end, but Joanna did a fine job entertaining me with selected readings from her diary from 1992.

The summer continues to wrap up.  It's time to buy school supplies, think about after school activities, and get ready for Joanna's upcoming surgery.

Tonight Joanna and I have a hot date at Soriah's, the first in awhile.  Todd and Victoria across the street gave us a wedding gift of kid watching, and we're taking them up on the offer.

Mocha Friday

August 03, 2012 by Adam in Family

I just finished my Friday mocha, which is as delicious as always.

It's been a week of adjustments, with Duncan and Berry returning from Rochester.  I think they both missed the computer, and I got a good shot of Berry vegging out in the morning one day.  Duncan has been excited about the Minecraft update, and we've all been playing on the family server once again.

The week has been relatively uneventful.  Joanna's been working hard in the gardens.  We continue to slowly integrate our finances and insurance now that we've been married.  Berry watched an episode of Adventure Time on the plane, and Emma was excitedly talking to her about it as we left this morning.  There's also the exciting news of Jessica, our nanny, being pregnant.  She heard the heartbeat yesterday, and things seem to be going well.  Duncan and Berry continue taking swimming lessons, and have seemingly improved greatly.

This weekend we're heading to the coast for the night.  Hopefully we can beat the crazy 98 degree temperatures we're supposed to get tomorrow.  It'll be nice seeing dad and visiting the beach.

Summer is also winding down.  Emma wants to take fencing in the fall, and I'm seeing if I can get her, Sam, and I to all join the Eugene Fencing Club.  There's also after school drama and the Coyote Kids outdoor school.  We'll see how much we can manage.

Science Weekend

July 30, 2012 by Adam in Family

I had a lovely, quiet weekend with Sam and Emma.  Joanna left crazy early Saturday morning.  I got up with her at 3:45 a.m., made her tea and oatmeal, took out her bags, and then stumbled back to sleep.

Sam slept in, so Emma and I got in a lot of science in the morning.  We took the tarnish off my earring with salt water and tin foil, looked at the mushrooms growing in the coffee grounds, and built an electronic circuit.  Eventually Sam arose just as we headed to the library, stocking up on assorted books for everyone.

Eventually we returned home for lunch.  The kids wanted to play "secret assassin", which devolved into sword fights with foam swords.  On the plus side, both kids seem interested in learning fencing at this point.  Perhaps I can start taking them.  Dinner was pizza and Mythbusters, as is the way of our people. 

In between adventures I watered lawns, did laundry, and helped Emma clean her room.  She went for a "magical" theme, which is currently pretty sparse.  Still, it looks good without the clutter.

Sunday was equally quiet.  Emma and I went out to the pet store to get fish tank cleaning supplies and poked around the bookstore.  We played outside on the swings and set things on fire.  There were more foam sword fights in the basement.  Sam and I played GTA IV, doing crazy things like seeing how far we could launch cars into the air.  Emma excitedly made a little D&D module for me, and she DM'ed a game that involved me getting brussel sprouts for a dragon.  I love my little nerdlings.

Dinner was a tasty affair of beans from our garden, apple sauce, corn, and veggie meat-like-products that Sam declared pretty tasty.  After we got Emma to bed, there was laundry, watching Tabletop, and a little more gaming.  It was a good weekend.

Joanna, Berry, and Duncan are on their way home.  Last I heard, they were flying back from Chicago in a plane that had My Little Pony on the television.  I think it'll be a good flight.

Mocha Friday

July 27, 2012 by Adam in Family

I feel so much better today.  It's as if rainbows and puppy dogs frolicked all around me.  The mocha helped too.

Busy day at work, trying to catch up with everything and keep the world from collapsing.  It feels good to be invaluable, though.

It's been great to see the kids the last few days.  Emma and I worked on her Solar Kit that we brought back from Ashland.  She definately has the Miller focus at times, and is surprisingly good at working with her hands.  I should teach her more electronics.

Sam continues to enjoy his new computer.  I'm working on getting him more focused on self-maintenance.  Joanna asked him to bring in groceries when I was sick.  He also made his own peanut butter and honey sandwich, asking little details like "how much honey do I put on?"  Next step - yardwork.

Joanna leaves crazy early in the morning tomorrow to fetch Berry and Duncan.  I'll miss her.

Deathly Ill Today

July 27, 2012 by Adam in Family

I ended up with food poisoning today and spent the day moaning in bed or throwing up.  My work folks were concerned about my wellbeing when they tried to get to my Internet site and it went somewhere weird.

Fortunately I'm (mostly) alive and well now.

Back to Work

July 25, 2012 by Adam in Family

We're heading into work momentarily, after a lovely honeymoon in Ashland.  I periodically checked e-mail so as not to be overwhelmed, and people were generally understanding of my absence.

The honeymoon was great.  We spent our days luxuriously reading, shopping, going out to eat, watching shows, and the like.  I amazingly read two books.  We finished a 1,000 piece puzzle, somewhat obsessively.  Assorted presents were purchased for kids.  We saw a musical based on 1950s music.  We visited with an old friend of Joanna's.  I had such a good time that I want to do it again next year.

Last night we drove into town, unloaded the van, dressed up for a work event in Cottage Grove, and then stopped by my mom's to give her a birthday present.  We stumbled home, exhausted.

I'm excited to see Sam and Emma today.  I'm coming home a little early to take Emma to a checkup.  In a few more days, Joanna will go fetch Duncan and Berry and life will return to normal.

Here's our exciting video.

Happy Birthday Mom!!!!!

July 23, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy birthday to the bestest Mom ever!!  We love you lots and hope you have a fabulous day!


July 21, 2012 by Adam in Family

Joanna and I are on our honeymoon, enjoying each other's wit and charm.  We just finished breakfast in our incrediby cute apartment.  She's doing puzzles, and I'm putting my book down for a few moments.

Yesterday morning was spent getting ready and hanging out with kids.  Emma played Fable 3 after breakfast.  It turns out that some of the memory was bad in Sam's computer, so I took out the broken SIMM.  Next the new power supply caused surges, so I put the old one back.  It's working for now.  The morning wraped up with "secret assassin" in the basement with Sam and Emma, which is their new favorite game.

After the kids went to Jamie's, we hit the road and worked our way down to Roseburg for lunch.  We puttered about longer than expected, finding the one hippie bookstore/juice bar in town.  There were some spellbooks I thought about getting for Emma, but Joanna wisely warned that Emma might use them on us.  We continued our drive to Ashland, reading Colette's diaries to keep us greatly entertained.

We found our apartment, which was part of an old house divided into fourths.  It's a perfect fit for the two of us, and very cute.  I'm now a fan of VRBO, which hooked me up with this place.

After arriving we picked up food at the nearby Safeway, fixed up dinner, and wandered out to a pub to listen to music.  Everyone was exceedingly friendly - I got compliments on my new Pac Man shirt and multiple people said hello.  We stopped by the co-op and picked up some great natural foods, then finally wandered home for a quiet evening. Joanna started her 1,000 piece puzzle and I'm halfway through a book.  Reading is such a luxurious treat for me.

I think we'll walk downtown in a wee bit.  There's a music store Joanna wants to explore.  I've heard rumors of a comic book store for grownups.  We're meeting a friend of Joanna's for lunch.  Should be fun.

Birthday Boy

July 20, 2012 by Adam in Family

I'm officially 43 now.  When we went to the library yesterday, Emma asked "Do they have books on crotchety old men?"  Swell.

Wednesday night we met up with Joanna's marketing group - the Emerald Valley Marketing Association I think it's called.  We got a behind-the-scenes tour of PK Park, which was actually fairly interesting.  I managed to find something vaguely vegetarian for dinner, and we watched half the game.  Joanna mostly wanted to hang out with Sluggo, for which I was fiercely jealous of.

I picked up Emma yesterday morning, taking the day off for my birthday.  She excitedly gave me her present, a book called "Goodnight iPad" which was a spoof on Goodnight Moon.  She hadn't had breakfast, and I'd only had oatmeal, so we ended up getting pancakes at the Glenwood.  We returned home and puttered around in the garden, setting up sprinklers.  Sam arrived, and Emma and I made a trip to the library.  I loaded up on books, as I think I'll actually have time to read something.

The afternoon was spent chasing chickens, getting ready for my party, playing video games, pillow fighting in the basement, playing catch on swings, and generally hanging out.  My mom bought a coin collection that Emma ended up getting paid to categorize and appraise, which she did quite diligently.  Emma really got into Sim City 4, hopefully learning a little about city planning in the process.

Dad, mom, Bob, and Jenny all came for my shindig.  The presents were great.  The food was wonderful.  We huddled under the patio umbrella for a brief summer thunderstorm.

Now it's the crack of dawn and we're soon off on more adventures.

Happy Birthday Adam!!

July 19, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy birthday Adam!  I hope that you have some fun with the family today!  Lots of love from the NM branch.

Country Fair Weekend

July 16, 2012 by Adam in Family

I had a great weekend with the kids, and Emma, Joanna, and I went out to the Fair to have wonderful adventures. 

Friday night had Joanna and Sam going off somewhere to take over the world.  Emma kept me company, which was nice as I hadn't seen her for awhile.  She was pretty wonky after staying up late with Kate the night before.  Jessica said she slept for a couple hours that day.

Saturday was hot and I felt unenthusiastic about doing much work.  We accomplished a few things, and wrapped up the day with our traditional pizza and Mythbusters.

Sunday morning Emma and I went out to water the garden, discovering woodpeckers communicating by drilling on our metal chimney cover.  They were all around the neighborhood, chatting away.  I whipped up buttermilk pancakes, which were absolutely delicious.  Late morning we hopped on a downtown bus and headed out to the Country Fair.

The Fair is always like visiting an exotic country, with strange architecture, people, and food.  Joanna and I had a code word (which was "codeword"), any time a half naked person wandered by.  Emma thought the whole thing was quite amusing and mostly focused on the food and cool stuff at the shops.  We ran into a variety of people, explored, and eventually wandered home.  Emma slept on the bus ride back, exhausted.

Sam slept until one in the afternoon, and I tried to hang out with him as much as I could.  We played Arma II, played catch on the swings outside, and all went to the basement to play a game we made up called "Secret Assassin."

The game is basically about lying, probability, and swordfighting.  We'd pass around Lego blocks and the person who had a white one was an assassin and the blue ones were guards.  In a typically game, the assassin would try to convince the others that they were a guard, and launch a surprise attack on the others.  We'd mix it up with different numbers of blocks, some people not looking at their blocks, and sticking the block to their forehead with tape.  It was fun, exhausting, and educational.  I learned that Emma is a very good liar, while Sam couldn't lie.  I'm not bad when I need to be.

Now we're back at work.  The kids are getting picked up a little later than normal, as evidently Jamie's schedule has changed.  They'll all return for my birthday on Thursday, and then Joanna and I are off to our honeymoon.

Still Employed Mocha Friday

July 13, 2012 by Adam in Family

The work craziness continues, but I'm increasingly assured that I'll have a job for the foreseeable future.  Unfortunately I'm not sure the same is true for some of my coworkers, and I'm hoping they find a place to land on their feet.

Sam's back, and loving his new computer.  Wednesday night I did a ton of housework while assembling it and installing Windows.  I love that rush of satisfaction when it turns on the first time.  Last night we started transferring everything over, which continues today.  Last night he played a game for the first time, pushed the graphics settings to the max, and kept exclaiming "I love it!"  I want to get his laptop's cooling problems sorted out and set up a synch process so he can take it to his mom's house.

Emma's over at Kate's house, having slept their last night.  She should be home soon, and I'm excited to see her.  I've got that fidgety feeling after they've been awhile for awhile.

Joanna bought herself a uke last night, a pretty purple thing that she's been enjoying immensely. 

Tomorrow we see a special preview of Ice Age 4.  Sunday is the country fair.

Time to go to the gym.

Mid-Week Update

July 11, 2012 by Adam in Family

I've had two and a half job offers and suggestions the last few days.  The level of work nuttiness has increased to eleven.  I'm pretty sure I can ride it out, though everyone seems to be polishing off their Linked In profile.

The house is very quiet without any kids.  Joanna and I have been taking the opportunity to tidy and organize in peace.  Yesterday the new refrigerator arrived, and this morning I heard "I love you refrigerator" coming from the kitchen.  Sam's new computer is coming in pieces, and I did a little rearranging in preparation.  I suspect I'll assemble the thing tonight.  Maybe next week I'll tackle the tub grouting project.

Interesting times.

Farewell Weekend

July 10, 2012 by Adam in Family

I'll probably keep this short, as work is busy this morning. 

The weekend was bittersweet.  We played with water balloons outside on Saturday and had a great time.  Rocket cars were assembled from Legos and fireworks.  Joanna packed up the kids and got them ready to go.  We had a final pizza and Mythbusters, played Terraria, and even Sam spent some quality time with Berry and Duncan.  Kevin stopped by to tuck the kids into bed, which they both appreciated.

In the morning we got up early and stuffed crepes into the kiddos.  Kevin arrived and the transition went mostly okay.  Duncan cried for awhile, not wanting to leave.  I think he settled down once he was on his way.

The rest of the day was pretty quiet.  We all played games, tidied, and worked on projects.  I got around to weeding in the garden, sealing up some cracks in the concrete, and putting my old computer into a new case that fit the massive cpu cooler I bought.  The kids and I got some good play time together.  We ate outside, hung out, and tried to cheer up Joanna.

Monday morning I took Sam to the dentist.  Jessica and Emma did projects, played games, and went out on an adventure.  That night Joanna and I bought the rest of our wedding presents from Target, which were discounted due to them being on the registry.

Work is pretty crazy.  We just got an announcement of layoffs, potentially including half our team.  I don't worry about my own position, as I'm absolutely needed by all.  I fear our team may not survive the reorg, and people may end up leaving out of the uncertainty.  Nothing is happening short-term, though by the end of the year it'll theoretically happen.  We'll see.

Broken Refrigerator Friday

July 06, 2012 by Adam in Family

So the refrigerator died this morning.  Joanna was brilliiant under pressure, moving all the food to our downstairs fridge while I tried to troubleshoot the problem.  After everything had been moved, I came to the realization that it probably makes sense to buy a new one.  Poor Joanna got quite the workout.  I think we'll end up going shopping for a new fridge at lunch today.

The kids arrived last night and we had a generally pleasant evening.  Emma and I went outside to set off a few fireworks, though I still have a ton remaining.

I'm already starting to miss Berry and Duncan.  They'll be here tomorrow, and then head to Rochester Sunday morning.  I think they're feeling a little anxious.  I hope they have a good time on their adventure.

It's likely a quiet day tomorrow, packing up the kids and taking care of fridge issues.

Fourth of July

July 05, 2012 by Adam in Family

It was a quirky Fourth of July.  Sam and Emma were at their mom's, though I saw them briefly when Emma came to collect her Kindle.  Duncan and I played Terraria while Joanna slept, emerging to whip up a big batch of crepes.  We worked on projects until it was time to gather supplies.  Duncan and I went to the hardware store, where he talked non-stop.  We picked up a ton of fireworks, where they had set up a bouncy house to entertain the hordes of children.

I made a fancy little shelf for the netbook above the treadmill.  The kids will no longer have to reapply the tape to hold it in place.  I also fixed a fan in my computer that kept falling off and banging on things.  Sam's getting a new computer, and I bought the parts.  It'll end up being fancier than mine.  We also puttered in the garden, let the chickens out, and generally took it easy.

After dinner we lit up sparklers and such.  Sadly we were interrupted when we found out Duncan had left the bathroom faucet on and flooded the basement.  Again.  Sigh.


July 03, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

Isabell has been fighting strep throat since we've returned from OR.  I think the worst of the fever and sleepless nights is over, but she's still feeling cruddy.  

Robbie headed out to camp training this morning.  He'll return on Thursday for a few days, and will hopefully know if the camp willstay open.  The forest service has closed the area where the camp is due to extream fire dangers.  If the rain season kicks in this week things may be back to normal.

I've started training for my weekend job at Vivac winery, and should officially start mid-month.  

We were able to visit Hanni in her new apartment yesterday for brunch.  She's all unpacked and starting to look relaxed again.  Later this week Alex and Anne will be out for a visit.  Always a great excuse to get the house cleaned up! 

Chicken Monday

July 03, 2012 by Adam in Family

I was woken up at 4:30 this morning by the chickens, who were freaking out. I wandered down and gave them food, as they were empty. Fifteen minutes later they started up again. It turned into Guantanimo in the back yard, and every time they made a horrible noise, I hosed them down. After ten or so times, they finally quieted down. I ended up not able to get back to sleep, and had a mocha this morning to stay semi-functional.

Duncan opened some more presents on Sunday. In particular, he liked the Portal turret stuffie that Sam got him. It has motion detection built-in, which thrilled the kids to no end.

Sam, Emma, Duncan, and I went down to the park where we played with track balls and giant frisbee discs. Sam and I did a bunch of programming through the day, fixing and breaking things like mad men. Sunday we had family dinner and chatted with everyone.

Sam and Emma are off for a few days. Hopefully I can catch up with sleep and work on some house projects.

Busy Kids, busy us

July 01, 2012 by Sue in Wielesek

Well, the day after everyone left, taking a page from Granny's  book, to keep myself from missing everyone,  I washed sheets, all thoughtfully stripped, and tackled the piles of miscellaneous stuff which had managed to accumulate.

Sadie, bless her heart, went through all her papers, art from third grade, math books from first grade, etc, etc, and winnowed out stuff she did not want to be permanently attached to for the rest of her life. I have a couple of 20% off coupons for it UPS and the books packed in one box to go media mail, so I'll ship it off in the next week or so. I promise I don't have any terrible disease, but I can feel my knees getting a bit arthritic, and if Bob and I move to the little house, we will need to downsize.

Destin came over to help me on Thursday, and we really got a lot of work done. He filled up the window washer on the Honda and Anna's car, lubricated the locks, door joints, etc, and helped me clean out the shed. We dug out the old floor computer to sell or take to the recycle place. I'm going to try to sell my copy machine, which will last for another 20 years but isn't compatible with my new computer.

Adam and I talked a bit more about a trip to France next summer. They would also like to see Hawaii, which feels like a great family trip.

I want to thank those of you who anonomously (okay, I know it's not spelled correctly, but at least I still remember the difference between its and it's.) left me good coffee. I have these mysterious bags of Stumptown and Peets.

I am thinking today about Sadie and Greg moving, and wondering how hot it is there. I'm not sure, but I think Robbie is off to camp for orientation today.

Anyhow, love and hugs to all, from yer old Mom


Birthdays and Water Balloons

July 01, 2012 by Adam in Family

Since Duncan will turn seven while in Rochester, we threw an early party for him yesterday.  It was a madhouse, but relatively well managed one.  The Calvin and Hobbes themed event was amusing for all:

ent.  It was glorious fun.

As for the other events in the weekend, I was woken by chickens at five in the morning.  Evidently they were out of water.  Emma is using all her Christmas and birthday money to buy a Kindle, which arrives Tuesday.  She's quite excited.

I think all the kids but Sam are going to church this morning.  We've been programming off and on, and I think we'll end up doing some of that during the brief quiet.  We have family dinner tonight.  Other than that, I look forward to hanging out with my family and lovely wife.

Married Bliss Mocha Friday

June 29, 2012 by Adam in Family

Married life is treating me just fine these days.  I enjoy calling Mrs Bartlett and I continue to get congratulations from random coworkers and consultants.  We have a million little things to consider and consolidate, from health insurance to bank accounts.  We'll get there.

Emma was here last night, with Jessica getting everyone to put on face paint and run around in the back yard.

Tomorrow is Duncan's birthday party.  He's turning seven while in Rochester, so we're throwing a shindig early.  The theme is Calvin and Hobbes, though lately he's been wanting a My Little Pony theme.  Maybe next year.

We're back!

June 27, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

We made it back home!  It's hot and windy, and we already miss the rain!

Mid-Week Update

June 27, 2012 by Adam in Family

We're slowly returning to ordinary life, albeit while being married.

Sam and Emma went off to their mom's on Monday.  Sam's returning tonight as Jamie and Emma wanted to go to the beach today.  Duncan went swimming in the deep end of the pool.  Berry's demeanor has improved considerably since she regained her health.  Joanna had her last class on Monday.  Emma decided to buy a Kindle with her birthday money.

Yesterday at work, Joanna's coworkers threw a "hey, you're married!" party for us.  There was a mini Newlywed game where we answered questions about each other.  I was surprised at how well we did, down to the favorite comfort food and last book we read.


June 23, 2012 by Adam in Sam

Sam put together a video of the progress of his game.  It's looking increasingly like something you can actually play.

click here

Hanging Out With Family

June 23, 2012 by Adam in Family

We've been hanging out with family the last few days.  Isa is over at the moment, asking politely if she can live in the shed when she moves back to Eugene for high school.  I said that was just fine.

We continue to clean up after the wedding.  I'm loving all our presents.  There's something wonderful about making crepes in our new, massive bowl with a handle, pouring them into shiny, no-stick pans.

Married Bliss

June 23, 2012 by Adam in Family

It turns out that marital bliss is fairly busy, and surprisingly similar to life before the wedding.  With Seraph, Sadie, and their families around, it's made for a fairly busy couple days.  That being said, my blushing bride is quite lovely and we periodically smile at each other in a "hey, we're married!" kinda way.

The wedding itself was as good as it could get.  The ceremony was sweet, the weather perfect, and the lack of drunken speeches was appreciated.  Hopefully we can put the video together soon.

Thanks to everyone who helped make it happen.

The Perfect Wedding

June 21, 2012 by Sue in Wielesek

Somehow, one of the themes in my life is kids' weddings which are fun and match each child perfectly. Adam and Joanna were no exception. They were married under a big oak tree at Mt. Pisgah, surrounded by close friends, family, and at least fifteen kids under age 12, all sweet and a bit solemn.

Joanna looked beautiful, and statuesque, in blue. Adam looked so smitten and in love that no one could doubt that this was a marriage made in heaven. In fact, one of their neighbors took me aside and told me what a wonderful couple they were.

I get to say that my kids and their mates were impressive. Jenny was stunning, as were Seraph and Sadie, (as always) and all the men were above average.

I'm have lots of problems with my new computer, but I'll post pictures just as soon as I can download them.

Ah, happy day!

The weekend has come and gone, a strangely qu...

June 18, 2012 by Adam in Family

The weekend has come and gone, a strangely quiet and busy few days. Sam and Emma were with their mom in Bend, which felt odd. I miss the critters. Berry continues to be sick, and occasionally in a very foul mood punctuated by moments of cheerfulness.

Our date night involved taking Berry and Duncan to the Hult Center for the big dance performance.  They had awesome outfits.  Poor Berry looked like she was going to keel over from exhaustion, but she managed to make it through the performance just fine.

Saturday morning we went to the Glenwood to have breakfast with dad.  We chatted for a long while, and worked on miscellaneous wedding tasks that afternoon. Joanna went to Saturday Market with Duncan, found her wallet missing, and returned home to cancel everything.  I entertained a grumpy Berry on the hammock until Joanna could give her some attention again.

Sunday morning Joanna woke up at the crack of dawn and we started again on the various wedding tasks.  Fortunately the wallet was found, with everything inside.  We went to my mom's for lunch, wishing Bob and John a Happy Father's Day as well.  The afternoon involved a second wedding-focused shopping trip and eating dinner outside.

Looking forward to Sam and Emma coming home tomorrow.


June 17, 2012 by Adam in Adam's Games

There's a new zombie mod called DayZ that I've been playing lately.  This started as a quick test to see if I could record my voice while playing.  That part worked fairly well.  As to how I faced against the zombies, I'll let you decide for yourself.

Bachelor Mocha Friday

June 15, 2012 by Adam in Family

It's my last Mocha Friday as a bachelor.  I suppose if I'm going to enjoy a last taste of freedom, I'm going to use it on a sweet, sweet mocha.  Hopefully Joanna has an open mind about such things.

My super annoying cold continues to mend.  I think Berry is the only one worse off than I am, as she and I are still sniffle buddies. I should be fine by the wedding.

The week has been fairly low-key. Sam and Emma have been at their mom's house since Tuesday night.  I stayed home and occasionally played games with Sam.  Wednesday afternoon Joanna and I had a walk through of the pavillion at Mount Pisgah, getting ready for the big event.  Later was dinner at Jenny's house, chatting with everyone about the wedding and planning everyone's time while we're together.

Yesterday was an early father's day for me.  Emma hung out with Isa, and picked up a Harlequin mask.  Joanna had nicely organized a bunch of presents and cards, which was cool.  I'm wearing my new pac-man shirt this morning, and Emma and I started soaking the coffee beans in preparation for planting.

This weekend is mostly uneventful.  We have a father's day brunch with my dad Saturday morning.  There are miscellaneous wedding tasks to accomplish.  Hopefully I can hang out with Seraph a bit.

Getting excited.

Trip to Eugene

June 12, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

See ya'll tonight!

Sick Monday

June 11, 2012 by Adam in Family

Sam and I are home sick today.  It's not too horrible - I'm a little tuckered out from waking up with Berry at 4 a.m., and not getting back to sleep.  I'm working at the moment, half-listening to my coworkers talk about their weekend during our team meeting.

We had a full house with all the kids.  There wasn't anything too exciting going on.  Joanna had her hair done Saturday morning.  Sam slept in.  Breakfast was an endless, elaborate thing.  I hauled Sam, Emma, and Berry out to the park where we played in a giant mud puddle and had a great time.  Somewhere in there we played with a Frisbee, boomerang, and kite.  That night we wrapped up with Provisions pizza and Mythbusters.

Sunday was equally low-key.  Kids played.  We ran around outside and walked to the park.  The Play and Spray has started up.  Joanna whipped up a tasty dinner.  Getting excited to see everyone - Seraph and Isa arrive tomorrow.

Game Roundup

June 11, 2012 by Adam in Adam's Games

Minecraft continues to be a main game in our household, three years after the first alpha came out.  Emma and Duncan's friends get on "the family server" and putter about.  What was once Sam's elegant city has been somewhat transformed by the attention.  I'm attaching a couple renders to give a sense of the thing.

Sam gave up on Max Payne 3 and I "bought" the game used from him, with him logging in with his credentials on my computer.  I'm not especially thrilled either.  Like Sam, I agree that the save checkpoints are too far apart.

He did cajole me to buy Arma 2, which I did yesterday.  I think the game started life as a military simulator, and Sam has been having fun with the scenario editor.  He'll then have us fly in via helicopter, trying to take out the AA guns before they get us.  We sometimes manage to land the thing after the engines get shot out, which is a common occurence.  Sam's also tried his hand at landing a troop transport on an airstrip while I ride in back.  I had to keep reminding him about the landing gear.

In any case, it's a fun sandbox game-like thing.  I suggested we play more tonight, but Sam was inspired to get back to programming.

Mocha Friday

June 08, 2012 by Adam in Family

We have a full house this weekend, which strangely excites me.  I have a keen desire to hang out with kids.  Next weekend Sam and Emma are off to Bend with their mom.  After that we get married.

It's been a fairly uneventful week.  Only Sam has homework.  Only Sam has school today.  I had his "Jonny Jetpack" story for Children's Literature printed out and ready to go.  I think most of his finals are over.  Yesterday when I arrived, Jessica was fixing Emma's hair and putting on makeup.  I played with kids in the basement, giving and receiving airplane rides (yes, Emma can give me an airplane ride for a few seconds).

I'm not sure if we have big weekend plans.  I'd love to get out to the park and play with Emma's kite and boomerang.  We'll see how it goes.

Early birthday wishes

June 08, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy early birthday Sadie!  Have a wonderful day doing whatever you want :)

Swimming & Sick Kids

June 05, 2012 by Adam in Family

Everyone is coming down with something.  Jamie texted to report that Emma was home sick today.  I woke up at four with a headache to take Advil and eat a bowl of cereal.  Berry woke up at five with a sore throat and I gave her some pain medicine.  Right as class started, Duncan reported a sore throat.  I ended up getting a medicinal mocha when I came in to work.  Hopefully we all make it through the day.

I dug up the swimming video from last weekend for your viewing pleasure.  Berry in particular can basically swim now.

Rainy Pre-Summer Monday

June 04, 2012 by Adam in Family

It's wet today, which seems a little unusual after weeks of sunshine.  All the kids are off to school, relatively cheerful.  It's the last full week (except for Duncan and Emma who have Friday off), and summer starts next Tuesday afternoon.

Friday night Joanna and I went out, going to Cosmic pizza.  There were a bunch of young bands and singers, a few of which were pretty good.  Planned Parenthood was putting on an event, so people were wearing Safe is Sexy shirts.  We left during the inflated condom balloon pop game, mostly because Joanna hates popping balloons.

Emma arrived Saturday morning after a breakfast of crepes and berries.  Joanna made a quick shopping trip while the kids and I hung out.  We made it to Tamarak pool for swimming.  Berry has become a great swimmer, and Duncan is much better about going under water.  We had a great time and headed home.  Emma and I went to Eugene Toy and Hobby to spend birthday money, picking up a kite and boomerang.  The day wrapped up with a shopping trip and quiet evening.

Sam arrived early Sunday after buttermilk pancakes and crepes.  Joanna and Berry went to church and I took everyone else to get haircuts.  After lunch I took Sam to pick up a Craigslist treadmill, which all the kids wanted to try.  It's mostly for them, making sure they get some exercise whenever they're watching a show over summer.  That night we had family dinner, the last that Hanni will get to before her move.

We're sorting out the last of the wedding issues.  It won't be long now.

Mocha Friday

June 01, 2012 by Adam in Family

I downed my morning mocha and have assorted weird things waiting for me at work.

It's been a relatively uneventful week.  Emma got a sunburn.  Sam's sore from gym class.  Berry went to kindergarten orientation at Charlemagne.  Duncan has been busy playing Minecraft, as usual.

Last night I arrived to find Emma and Berry building forts in the basement.  The boys were playing Minecraft.  I greeted them all and then plunged into making eggs and chips.  After a lively dinner, I moved on to cleaning up and helping kids with homework.  I tucked Emma into bed as normal, as the "I'm nine and can stay up" rule seems to have faded.

The wedding is looming on the horizon, with decisions about music playlists and coffee waiting for my attention.  It's hard to believe that it's just nineteen days away now.

This morning everyone got crepes with whip cream faces.  They kept demanding pictures of them.

I'm really looking forward to the weekend.  I'm trying really hard to go swimming on Saturday.  Theoretically Berry and Duncan can swim now, which should make things simpler and hopefully more fun.  Tonight Joanna and I are having a hot date, the first time we pulled it off in a couple weeks.

Good times.

Trip to Eugene

May 31, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

Isabell and I will get into Portland on 6/12 at 7:05pm (I'm hoping someone can pick us up!).  Robbie will come in on 6/18.  We all leave together on 6/12 at 1:06pm.

We can't wait to see you all!!

Home Sweet Home

May 30, 2012 by Sue in Wielesek

Hi, guys, and it's so nice to be home. I'm looking forward to wishing Emma and Jenny

a Happy Birthday. The bride was beautiful, the groom above average, and the stadium cake looked like the Ohio State stadium. It was a bit toasty; the car thermometer read 105 at one point on Sunday. Bob and I went to see an amazing Frank Lloyd Wright synagogue on Monday. Got to see all my nieces and nephews in one weekend!

Memorial Day Madness

May 29, 2012 by Adam in Family

Memorial Day weekend has come and gone.  Taking care of a horde of children is busy, as always, but quite satisfying.  Everyone played really well together, even Sam.

Duncan had his school performance last Friday.  I dutifully drove across town, waved hello, and drove back to work.  I think he was happy to see me there.  I did the same for his jog-a-thon a few weeks ago:

ng with hard cash in her pocket was her favorite part.

Saturday was pizza and Mythbusters.  Since it was Sam's half birthday, I picked up Provisions for him.  Joanna gave him a disaster preparedness manual, signed by the author.  I gave him money towards video games.

Sunday morning Joanna and Duncan went to church.  The rest of us hung out and played outside off and on.  We had a momentous video game moment when we defeated the Ender Dragon on the family Minecraft server.  Theoretically we've "won" the game, though we all keep playing.

Joanna spent the afternoon cooking and getting ready for Emma's birthday party.  I worked on endless laundry, dishes, and cleaning.  That night Yayoe, John, Jenny, Jordan, and Jordan's friend Anthony came over to help celebrate.  Emma had a good time hanging out with everyone.

Joanna worked from home on Monday and I took care of kids.  Emma and I played

with her science kits, assembling weather stations and clocks.  She put together a bunch of Snap Circuits herself.  Berry joined us for the conductive dough Sticky Circuits project.

Sam and Berry played well together, strangely enough.  We all ran around in the back yard amongst the rampaging chickens.  The slip and slide came out, which worked well as long as I used warm water.  Eventually we followed the music down to cheese park, playing frisbee and burying kids in the sand.

Now I'm back at work, relaxing.

Nine Years Old

May 29, 2012 by Adam in Emma

Emma is officially nine. At 11:55 a.m. on Sunday, Jamie came over to give Emma a birthday hug and I rallied the troops to sing her Happy Birthday.  She also had two other celebrations so far, one last week with Kate and Daniel, and another Sunday night with the family.  Joanna spent a big chunk of the day cooking and making delicious cupcakes.  Emma declared it the best birthday ever. 

We had some discussions about what she could do now that she's nine years old.  She decided she could stay up until 8:30 p.m. now.  The first night it went really well, and she conked right out after she shooed me away.  Last night was a little more challenging, and she called me up because she was scared.  I hung out with her until she settled down and all was well.

Happy Birthday Emma!

May 28, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy birthday Emma!  We miss you and hope you're having a rockn' and rolln' time!

Happy Birthday Jenny!!

May 27, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy birthday sis!  We'll celebrate properly soon!

Mocha Friday

May 25, 2012 by Adam in Family

I'm really looking forward to the three-day weekend.  We're not going anywhere or doing anything other than Emma's birthday party.  Sam's got a bunch of reading and needs to work on finishing up the book his making for Children's Literature.  Emma got some birthday money from my dad, and she wants to go buy some books tomorrow.  I suspect we'll work in a BBQ on Monday, but otherwise take it easy.

Duncan has a school performance at lunch today.  Joanna has a meeting, but I think I'll make the drive across town to hear him sing with his class.  Berry's tummy has been bothering her, but she was improved this morning.

Joanna's been reading Ready Player One and can't seem to put it down.  I'm glad she's a little bit nerdy.  I can't believe there's only a couple weeks until the end of school, and another week and a half before the wedding.


May 24, 2012 by Adam in Sam

Sam's in his second year of choir at Roosevelt.  He's hoping to continue on next year, and I find he's become more musical than I am.  He knows quite a range of tunes and it always humming something around the house.

We scrounged a black outfit for him, getting him into my too-tight black shoes and a pair of my black pants that fit.  He did pretty well, though he was quite eager to get the shoes off by the end of the show.

Phun in Philly

May 24, 2012 by Sue in Wielesek

With a minimum amount of fuss, we made it to Chicago for the anniversary and many hugs and even more good food. It was so much fun to see Derek, Leah and Jack, Johnnie and Debbie's kids. Everyone had a good time.

There was one screw up on the Chicago to Philadelphia trip, but we arrived here safe and sound, just a bit late. We've been helping Meg and Dick tidy up after their remodeling. The wedding should be fun!

Mass Effect and Portal 2

May 22, 2012 by Adam in Adam's Games

I finished up Mass Effect 3 over the weekend.  I had really low expectations, but generally found the game enjoyable.  I certainly understand the complaints - your choices seem a little hampered and the endings all seemed similar.  I do look forward to the new ending DLC that supposedly clears things up.  Still, it was fun flying around the galaxy, despite its flaws.

Both Duncan and Sam have gotten into Portal 2 lately.  It seems that I'm either playing with one or the other when I'm able to.  Duncan is surprisingly good at cooperatively solving the puzzles, even if I nudge him in the right direction.  Sam is wicked smart and sees the solution before I do much of the time.  Last night we were playing the new DLC, which was pretty challenging.  We were at the end and he kept telling me to portal myself over and I just didn't get it.  Finally he grabbed my mouse in frustration and zipped me over.  The ending was pretty amusing and satisfying after wracking our brains for so long.

I'm getting back to some older games.  Sam tells me I have to play Metro 2033, which is both Russian and post-apocalyptic, two of his favorite genres.

Birthday, Phase 1

May 21, 2012 by Adam in Family

Birthdays around here tend to be drawn-out affairs, spread across different parents, friends, and school events.  Emma's birthday is coming up (as is Sam's half-birthday).  Because her friends were busy next weekend, Emma invited Kate and Daniel over on Saturday for a combination birthday party and sleepover (for Kate, anyway). 

Friday was pretty low-key and uneventful, as our babysitting didn't get lined up and we ended up just staying home.  Duncan and I played a lot of Portal 2 co-op, which he really loved.  He's quite sharp and while he spent a fair amount of time with the interactive gestures (e.g. high-fives, yanking off my robot's head, and so on), he also figured out the different puzzles pretty quickly.

Emma appeared Saturday morning.  The kids made movies and played.  Emma and I went off to the library and took a short bike ride while the rest of the family went to see Pinkalicious.  I mowed the yard while Emma read in the hammock.  Kate and Daniel arrived at three and Joanna sent them off on a treasure hunt she put together.  It eventually led to walkie-talkies, which proved to be interesting when they began chatting with strangers.

Eventually dinner rolled around, which was Tasty Thai take-out.  Emma requested angelfood cake for dessert, and we all sang for her.  Daniel was picked up by his dad, and the girls played Minecraft until I put them to bed around eight.  As somewhat expected, they didn't actually go to sleep until nearly midnight.  They stayed up late reading and chatting until they woke me up and I firmly and politely told them to go to sleep.

Sunday was low-key.  Joanna took the younger kids to church.  Sam, Emma, and I played in the basement for a long while, building a big fort out of couches.  Sam dressed the skeleton and hung it on the wall.  I managed a bit of yardwork that Joanna mostly did, and spent a fair amount of time just hanging out and playing.  It was lovely.  The day wrapped up with pizza and Mythbusters.  Good times.

Sweet Mocha Friday

May 18, 2012 by Adam in Family

The weather is amazing, with the only drawback being that I stuff the kids full of Claritin each morning.  It's allergy season for sure.  On the plus side, I felt like little birds would swoop down and braid my hair.  The valley is so pretty this time of year.

It's been a pleasant week.  Sam got his midterm grades, assuring me that his C and No Pass were due to missing assignments from when he was sick.  Emma arrived yesterday and helped me make dinner while Joanna went out to a work thing.  Evidently a guy was giving a speech on disaster preparedness, so I think we might be putting a bunker in the basement.  My mom came over and helped immensely with everyone.  Duncan and Berry really like having her around.

The kids have all been cheerful and pleasant.  Emma sweetly walked Berry to the bus this morning.  Duncan is excited to play Portal 2 in co-op with me tomorrow morning.  Sam finished his children's book after sinking countless hours into coloring.

Tomorrow is Emma's party and sleepover.  Kate and Daniel are coming for the party, and Kate is spending the night.  Duncan, Berry, and Joanna are watching Pinkalicious the play, and Duncan is spending the night at Rob's house.  I'm hoping Emma and I can sneak in some swimming time in between all the activities.

Life's good.


May 18, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

Wow, it's been awhile since we've posted anything!  Isabell is all better, and back to her usual antics.  Tomorrow is her schools 5k run/walk, recycled fashion show, talent show, and enchilada dinner.  She'll be participating in everything!

Robbie is working hard on the end of year details (only 5 school days left!).  He got a job at a camp near Jemez Spring, and will be gone all of July.  I'm sure Isabell and I can find ways to get into trouble on our own :)

I went and bought a 25lb bag of flour and have started baking bread.  It's something I really enjoy, and I've let our friends know that I'll be interested in "trades" (especially with those who have farms and wineries).  I'm still subbing away with the schools, and have two more days scheduled next week, as well as the final Dixon yearbook to get out.  

I think we'll all enjoy a nice breather after 5/25, when things can calm down again!   

Dorothy is 94!

May 17, 2012 by Danica in Danica Miller

Hard to believe, but Dorothy turned 94! We've been having a month-long celebration starting May 1 and still continuing.

First we went out for dinner at one of Rochester's fanciest restaurants, where it just happens that Ben and Emma know the chef. That resulted in some 'royal' treatment including a few hors d'oeuvres compliments of the chef, which we all loved. Then there was brunch at the house with Ben and Emma complete with champagne Mimosas, French toast, organic homemade sausage, asperagus with hollandais sauce and a faux trifle I just learned to make (layers of berries, crushed gingersnaps, lemon curd and whip creme - don't you wish you'd been here?!) That was followed by dinner with Andy at the Rochester restaurant most famous for it's amazing and extensive selection of desserts (owned by a woman who coincidentally happens to be a dentist). Last night we enjoyed the road show of South Pacific that's in town. It's amazing that every song is a hit and it still feels relevant almost 65 years after opening. But we're not done yet - still have tickets to Cirque de Soleil which is in town at the end of the month. Got to celebrate while you can!



Emma's Eugene Project

May 16, 2012 by Adam in Emma

Emma doesn't normally do a lot of writing, so it was a treat to see what she wrote about her "places in Eugene" project.  This weekend we'll be printing out her paragraphs to go with the photos, and then putting it all on a poster board.

Have you ever seen a raptor? Well, at Cascades Raptor Center, they keep injured raptors like ones that have been run over or had their nest cut down during logging, and I went there!  I went with my mom on May 2nd to see many birds of prey, also known as raptors. Once when I went there before I adopted a bird.  Her name is Ravi, and this time I got to see her out of her cage. When we started looking around, I looked in a Golden Eagle's cage and behold, it was taking a bath! Also, when we looked in the corner, there was a nest with eggs.  It was so cool! I did not want to leave, but I had to. That was my experience at the raptor center.


When you go to a restaurant, a giant war horse does not usually greet you, but at P.F. Chang's a giant war horse does, and I saw it! I went to P. F. Chang's at 2:00 on Wednesday with my mom. I went because both me and my mom liked it, and the food. It really was a good place to be. When I walked in it was pretty empty but still a few people were there. The room was filled with music and calming Chinese paintings. When we ordered, we ordered Singapore street noodles, rice, egg drop soup and dumplings.  I ate until I was sick! When it was time to go, we paid, tipped and said good-bye to our waiter.


Do you like shops and locally grown produce? Then you would like Saturday Market! I went there to check it out. I went on April 28th with my step-brother and sister, Duncan and Berry. Also with my real dad. There were shops, live music, and wow! a giant fountain!  Before I went there I was at the library, so we took the car from there.  Then my stomach growled because I was hungry, so my dad bought a giant brownie. On our way back from getting the brownie, a flower shop worker asked if I wanted a flower.  I tried not to be rude and accepted.  After that, Berry was falling asleep so we went back home and that was my trip.


May 15, 2012 by Adam in Sam

Sam had a science thing last night.

That's about all I knew about it, but I took him there after dinner and it turns out he was going to do a presentation about earthquakes along with the rest of the class.  They set up displays and models in the gym and various interviewers would come by and grill him about what he knew.  Theoretically he was doing it with two other people, but they didn't show up and so he was forced to do it all himself.

He did great.  I evesdropped on his explanations, which were accurate and interesting.  His teacher came by and asked how he was doing all on his own.  Later he admitted to me that the presentation was kind of fun.  I think he enjoyed being so capable.

Back to Work

May 14, 2012 by Adam in Family

The weekend was pretty busy, with highlights of fun and relaxation along the way.

Joanna was pretty slow and sore, still recovering from her back procedure.  She managed some light gardening and expanded our improvised network of hoses.  Berry had moments of grumpiness mixed with sweetness.  Sam was frustrated with the amount of homework he had to do.  Duncan and Emma were consistently happy and cheerful, which I very much appreciated.

Saturday morning I bought groceries while Joanna went to TrueValue.  Emma arrived late morning and I immediately leaped into playing with the kids.  First was cracking open a coconut, with everyone getting a sip of the milk.  Then we built a shelter in the back yard out of sticks and an old cloth.  Emma did most of the knot tying, her Coyote Kids class paying off.

We ate watermelon in the shade of our shelter and snacked on lunch before retreating to the basement.  All of the kids wanted me to pretend to be a monkey and monster, which involved them hiding in the tent with a flashlight.  I'd alternate between being a monster and a friendly monkey, much to their delight.

Eventually I grew weary and we drifted to computers for an hour or two.  Duncan got Portal 2 and has been cheerfully playing all weekend.  Joanna made potato salad sandwiches and we took the kids down to the park to eat and frolick.  They made commercials and had me film them.  We all had a good time, returning home while it was still warm and light.

Sunday morning was Mother's Day.  I took everyone to the campus Glenwood to meet my mom, Jenny, Destin, and Jordan.  It was a pretty noisy and frantic, and the day reminded Joanna of her mom's passing, so she opted to go back home.  The rest of us waited for over an hour to get food, but finally sat down and stuffed our starving bellies.

I dropped Emma off to spend time with Jamie, returning to play Portal 2 co-op with Duncan.  We had a good time and he's fairly skilled for a six year-old.  Later both kids appeared and Sam and I worked on his project together.  It was pretty grueling, as he has a bunch of drawing for his Children's Literature class.  Hopefully we can get it done in time.

The day wrapped up with pizza and Mythbusters, followed by a little Veronica Mars and How I Met Your Mother for the adults and teens.

Sam has a science presentation tonight at school, which sadly disrupts our typical boy night.  He's wanting to do more programming, though I'm not sure when we'll manage.

Surgery Friday

May 12, 2012 by Adam in Family

I didn't actually get any mocha last Friday.  It was a rather busy day.  I ran kids around and got them off to school, ran home to make crepes for Sam, who had the day off, drove back to run around the track with Duncan at his jog-a-thon, and finally went to the Neurospine Institute where Joanna was getting her procedure.

It ended up taking much longer than we'd expected.  She was out of surgery around 9:30, but it took her quite awhile to wake up after the general anesthetics.  I think we finally made it home around noon, though Joanna was still pretty groggy.  The good news is that her back is feeling fairly good so far, so perhaps she actually had the procedure done (2 in 3 chance) and it did some good.

I hung out with Sam while we could.  He's been playing with the Portal 2 construction tool, so I played through the ones he made and offered what advice as I could.  Eventually we all sat down and watched Captain America.  By the end of the show Joanna was ready to move around.  I had to chastise her to be careful as she threw on shorts and let the chickens free in the backyard.

Jessica arrived with the kids, who changed into their dance outfits and went off to get their pictures taken.  Upon her return, Jessica promised to make sure Joanna took it easy, and I ran Sam over to Jamie's house.

We had a quiet evening of Glee.  Joanna had a hard time sleeping, as she'd slept so much already that day.  I woke up and made crepes for everyone, including some gluten-free ones for Joanna.  The weather is so beautiful that I'm hoping to get outside soon.  Emma should arrive soon and perhaps we can assemble a makeshift fort out of the Camellia branches.


May 11, 2012 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

While I couldn't be there because of work, Greg was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and graduated from the Commonwealth Honors College this afternoon. Isn't he the shit?

King Estate

May 08, 2012 by Adam in Family

Last weekend Jamie's stepdad Jim had a retirement celebration at King Estate Winery.  Sam and Emma were out there with their various relatives, apparently making funny faces and running about.

Jamie and I got together this morning to talk about the kids and summer schedules.  It was a good, productive talk.  I'm glad things have come along well enough for us to have pleasant conversations about these things.  I appreciate her enthusiasm for the well-being of the kids, and we honestly spent a fair amount of time just talking about how awesome they were.

Berry's sick today, or possibly has bad allergies.  Last I saw her, she was playing a Barbie game on the DS in Joanna's office.

Sunny Weekend

May 07, 2012 by Adam in Family

We had a pleasant weekend, full of sunny afternoons and running around outside. Poor Berry had a hard time, having gotten vaccinations Friday morning.  The shots themselves were fine, and she enjoyed hanging out with Joanna in the hospital before returning to school.  That night she started throwing up, and went to bed feeling miserable.  Joanna talked to a nurse, and we kept an eye on her for the rest of the weekend.  By Saturday afternoon she was doing pretty well, and by Sunday she was back to her usual self.

Our to-do list was mostly sorted out.  I drilled out the lock on the filing cabinet, starting my life of crime.  I pulled the instructions off the Internet and in five minutes had it popped open.  Emma watched, presumably taking notes for future career moves.

The kids played well together, and I think Emma really enjoyed having Duncan and Berry around.  They made togas out of material my mom snuck into our house.  Home movies were made.  At one point, they were all playing Sims 3 and helping each other make families and their pets.

Sam arrived on Sunday.  We worked more on the game and he finished up his layout for his children's book for school.  I pulled him outside for water balloon madness and catching hula hoops on the swing.

Joanna returned from church with pizza in hand and we had an early pizza and Mythbusters to make room for our family dinner.  Joanna whipped up some delicious desserts, including a Tres leches cake that was impossible to resist.  It was also a week before Yayoe's birthday, so we sang her a happy birthday song.

Now it's back to the grind.  Joanna has her back procedure this Friday, so I'm expecting a low-key weekend ahead of us.  It's boy's night tonight, and I expect Sam and I will program and watch Tabletop.  Good times.

Mocha Friday

May 04, 2012 by Adam in Family

It's Friday, and a mocha-filled one at that.  I'm feeling surprisingly invigorated after a pretty-draggy mid-week.  It's nice to finally be on the other end, with promises of a 70+ degree weekend ahead of us.

Everyone has had a lingering cold of some sort, with Sam still sniffling and Berry coughing.  Berry had her five year-old checkup today, and faced her shots like a trooper.  She does have a constipation issue we're sorting out.  I think she gets some quality bathroom time in the weeks ahead.  Still, I think everyone is on the mend and hopefully this weekend will be relatively free of illness.

Sam continues to catch up with school.  Jamie reported grumpy behavior on Wednesday, trying to get through masses of homework.  We were studying Spanish last night and this morning.  With only six weeks to go, I'm hoping we can get him properly caught up.  He's also been working away at his game, making artwork and building levels.  The plan is to make an exploration game, sampling and taking pictures of alien life.  I'm excited to see how it turns out.

Wedding plans continue.  Joanna's getting clothes for the kids.  Our rings have arrived.  I'm working through insurance for the event.  Music and food is getting lined up.  It looks like we're having a wide variety of goodies from Sweet Life, sort of a high tea at the park.  We met with the minister to go over vows.  Still, it's been relatively low-key and most of the activities are somewhat fun.

I think we'll have a fairly low-key weekend.  I'm stealing the younger kids to make secret projects for Mother's Day.  Emma has her project to work on, printing out pictures from places around Eugene.  She's hitting up everyone she knows to try and sponsor another bird at the raptor center.  Duncan wants to install the tornado Minecraft mod.  Sam wants to work on his game.

Life's good.

Sadly Back to Work

April 30, 2012 by Adam in Family

It was such a nice weekend, full of hanging out in hammocks and watching chickens run around the backyard.  Coming to work was a little jarring in comparison.

Friday night Joanna and I had a good night out.  We went to Govinda's for tasty vegetarian food, then took some games to Divine Cupcake for game night.  We had an unbelievably fun time with "Would You Rather".  Joanna's response to "Would you rather be beautiful with an ugly spouse, or ugly with a beautiful spouse" was more insightful than weeks of premarital counseling.  The evening wrapped up with Lego Creationary and watching Glee.

I picked up Emma after breakfast and the kids and I all went to the library and Saturday Market.  Berry held on to her Sonic book with a death-grip as we wandered the stalls at the market.  Each kid ran into their current or past French teacher and said bonjour.  We picked up fresh veggies and treats before wandering home.

I worked through a fair number of house projects: mowing the lawn, planting potatoes, hanging blinds, putting up photos, and going food shopping with Emma.  I helped Emma climb the cherry tree in the front yard.  We discovered figs on the fig tree.  It was a very pleasant day.

Sunday morning the kids and I played in the basement while I worked on laundry.  I think Emma enjoys having younger kids who will go along with her play pretend stories.  I could only manage being a puppy for five minutes or so.  Later I whipped up crepes and dutch babies, which were delicious.

Joanna lured the kids to church with promises of Pappa's Pizza afterward.  They stayed for a long while, playing games and winning cheap plastic prizes.  Meanwhile I picked up Sam and we worked on programming efforts.  Mostly we added sound, and he went around recording weird things like clomping around in Joanna's sandals.

The afternoon was relatively quiet.  I took Sam for a walk where he chatted away.  I stopped by the park to hang out with everyone else.  Pizza and Mythbusters was enjoyed.

This morning all the kids went to school, however reluctantly.  Sam and Emma still sound sniffly, the last of the cold dragging on.

Mocha Friday

April 27, 2012 by Adam in Family

It's been a quirky week of sickness and visits with the principal.  I think we're finally moving towards a normal weekend.

Emma was sick for a couple days over the weekend, but managed to get to school on Monday.  Sadly Sam got hit bad and has been out of school all week.  He tried to go Wednesday, but I picked him up and ended up staying home with him the next day too.  I had a couple days of being sniffly and achy, but am feeling pretty good today.  The main challenge will be all the homework he's built up.  I've been e-mailing teachers and trying to get everything collected.

Duncan had an issue a couple days ago with another kid at school.  Evidently they heard Duncan laughing, though he was being made fun of, and this other kid punched him.  Duncan, being the kind and gentle soul that he is, went and told a teacher, winning praise from the principal in the process.  Joanna is understandably miffed, and has had both the principal and mother of the kid talk to her.  I think we're going to see if the principal's interventions help, and take appropriate action should it happen again.  Duncan seems fine, and somewhat happy that he's getting praised for his actions.

As for everything else in life, I've been working from home and taking care of an occasionally grumpy Sam this week.  Joanna is going in for an experimental back surgery, with a 2 in 3 chance of actually getting the procedure (if she's in the control group, they'll give it to her afterward).  She's also been having stomach issues, switching between acid-supression drugs.  Berry's been a little sniffly, and was a little grumpy last weekend, but seems back to her mostly cheerful self.  Emma was doing impromptu Glee routines when she arrived yesterday, to everyone's amusement.

Tonight Joanna and I are going out somewhere.  I'd just like a meal where they don't try to feed me meat.

Morning at the Courthouse

April 23, 2012 by Adam in Family

It's been a strange morning.

Sam's sick today, and Emma is getting over a cold.  Emma's off to school, but I let Sam stay.  We finally dropped off all the kids and headed to the courthouse.  There we saw the fascinating process by which the people who robbed our house were sentenced.  It was very formal.  They both pled guilty (or in one case, the plea where you say you're kinda guilty but not guilty).  Each had ten days of jail and probation.  The guy with the longer record had 18 months of prison waiting for him if he broke his probation.  Theoretically they're required to pay restitution, though who knows if we'll see any of it.

We also discovered why only Sam's laptop was admissable in court.  It turns out the Florence police didn't get a warrant to search the hotel.  The only admissable evidence is the laptop itself, which had the GPS tracking on it and led to their hotel room. 

After sitting through that long process, we wandered over and picked up a marriage license.  That part was far more fun and the woman at the counter was extremely nice.  We stopped by Full City to get a mocha and chai, then wandered in to work quite late.

The rest of the weekend was fairly pleasant.  Poor Emma was feeling under the weather, so we didn't make it to the raptor center.  Sam really got into programming, which we did a lot of.  He also ended up being very proactive on his homework and reading, which was great.  Friday night was pizza and Mythbusters.  Saturday we went to Berry and Duncan's dance performance, which was fun.  In the afternoon, Duncan had his friend Rob over and the three younger ones played like crazy monkeys all afternoon.

Sunday morning we stuffed everyone full of eggs, bacon, toast, and crepes.  Then Joanna took the younger boys to Rob's house to play and headed to church.  Emma worked on science.  Berry played Minecraft.  Sam programmed.  Eventually Emma, Sam, and I played boardgames until everyone came home.  One of my post-lunch highlights was going down to the park in the gorgeous weather.  Sam, Emma, and I played frisbee and rode Emma's bike.  I think I ended up on it the most, riding through mud puddles and giggling like a teenager.

Our new chicken, Goldie, started laying eggs.  We mowed the lawn and ate outside.

I'm really excited for Summer.



April 23, 2012 by Adam in Sam

Sam's been working on a Java based game for the last few weeks.  I've been providing technical support, but all the art, typing, game ideas, and some programming is all his.  He's incredibly excited about how things are turning out.  As his programming teacher, he's coming along quite nicely.  I no longer have to detail out all the curly braces and variable cases.  He's to the point where he'll say "I want the animation frame to go back to the first when you're not pushing buttons."  He'll add in all the logic and I'll supply the one line to make it happen.

I'm quite proud of the boy.

Wakey Wakey

April 22, 2012 by Adam in Adam's Games

I continue to fight the forces of darkness in Alan Wake.  I think I'm about 3/4ths of the way through the game.  There are some somewhat humorous elements in the game, and I'm especially fond of the main town with it's amusing annual festivities.

While it's not the best game ever, I do enjoy playing something in a genre I don't usually partake of.  The other game I'm playing somewhat in parallel is the Legends of Grimlock.  It's an old school dungeon crawler.  I'm currently wandering around hallways filled with puzzles and glowing slimes.

Three Weeks 'Til Commencement

April 22, 2012 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I am at home enjoying my newly aligned and re-arranged desk, while Greg finishes final problem sets and capstone sections in the library. I've staked my place behind the living room couch and am pretending not to have two gross monitors with the help of a scavanged painting. The photographed outfits represent my Saturday post-workout email check, not my professional attire. During the week, I put a blouse over my spandex for conference calls.

Greg's fellowship next year will keep us in the Pioneer Valley for another year; I'm hoping to dig in more than last year, when I was busy building our temporary community in Maine, and the year before, where my job ate out my heart. 

Last week, I got to spend a few days in DC with Ms. Carly Bruder, which was freaking awesome. A few hikes and backpacking trips on the horizon, but nothing too far from home until the big June party. We can't wait. 

Science Friday Mocha

April 20, 2012 by Adam in Family

I just finished dropping off all the kids to their various school locations, with enough time to stop by Duncan's science project.  He and Joanna whipped it up a couple days ago and it turned out quite well.

The week has been a little busier than usual, and the weekend promises to be equally packed.  Sam's homework load has been fairly heavy.  He has a digital storytelling project he's storyboarding.  There's a children's book that he's beginning to put together.  Fortunately he's been doing fun things in between.  When I left this morning, he was working on Jonny Jetpack, the main character in the game we're making.  It looks quite good.

Joanna and I had a lousy date night on Wednesday.  We went to Mekalia's where they served me chicken soup.  That's the first time I've spit out my food in a long while. They didn't charge us, but I think I'm done going there.  We gave our Groupon to our sitter.  Next was trivia night at the Supreme Bean, which had no seating, then to Metropol, which was closed.  We finally just went home in defeat and I ate a bowl of cereal.

Last night Joanna went to a work event and sat next to Jeff Musgrove, chatting away.  He's the dad of one of Sam's old friends, and Jamie knows his wife quite well.  Fortunately my mom came over to have me help with the kids, as it was a full house last night.

I think we're going to do pizza and Mythbusters tonight, as Sam is here.  Tonight we have a dance performance, taking Emma to the raptor center party, and a Duncan sleepover.  Hopefully I can find some time to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather.

The summer plans are slowly sorting themselves out.  Duncan and Berry go off to their dad's house through most of July.  I think Joanna and I will have our honeymoon after my birthday.  The wedding is coming together too, with Yayoe and her band performing.  We still have a few details to sort out, but I'm increasingly excited about the shindig.

Birthdays, Easter, and Springtime

April 16, 2012 by Adam in Family

We're back at work after three days off.  Work is a madhouse with all these issues pouring in.  Hopefully I can beat it into submission by the end of the day.

Friday was pretty great.  We took the day off as the kids were out of school.  Joanna got ready for the birthday party and took care of miscellaneous taxes and such.  Sam and I got some programming done.  His little jetpack guy flies around more elegantly.  Emma and I did some gardening and we turned the old shed stairs into a garden bed for her.  We stuffed it full of lettuce.  I managed to play some videogames between chores and playing with kids.  Emma, Duncan, and I got some Minecraft time in there.

Saturday was all about Berry's birthday, from breakfast through afternoon.  We started with presents after breakfast, set up for the party, and hordes of children descended on the house.  The weather was amazing, so it was mostly outside.  I think we managed to play one of the games.  Soon it became apparent that the kids were running the show.

In the afternoon we played outside and cleaned up.  Eventually we wandered down to cheese park with every other kid and parent in town.  Duncan and I had a good time playing shirtless frisbee.  Eventually we headed back for a low-key dinner.

Sunday was equally pleasant.  Joanna slept in so long that I fed the kids and got them ready for the day.  Eventually she wobbled down, still recovering from the day before.  The weather was nice once again, so we walked over the hill to help my mom set up for Russian Orthodox Easter.  Joanna and I helped with cooking and the kids picked flowers.  I came back early to get Sam, and the two of us played Splinter Cell co-op for an hour, which was quite fun. 

Eventually the rest of the crew returned for art projects.  Flynn and Duncan played frisbee and Minecraft.  Sam and I worked on programming.  We returned to my mom's to eat, chat, and drink.  Josh and Sam hung out.  The kids hunted for Easter baskets.  We adults kept eating until we were stuffed.

Robbery Update

April 12, 2012 by Adam in Family

I just got a call from the prosecutor for our case.  It turns out he's a neighbor, and sadly reported that there was an issue with the evidence and only Sam's laptop was admissable in court.  Apparently that means they couldn't get them for robbery, even though they were in possession of our stolen goods.  Still, the thieves are pleading guilty and will get probation, have to pay restitution, and get a no contact order.  One of them was evidently a repeat offender and will end up in prison should they do this again.

Evidently they'll be in court on April 23rd at 9 a.m. if we want to be present.  Mostly I just want their names and to see what they look like in case they come around.

Almost Friday Mocha

April 12, 2012 by Adam in Family

It's not quite Friday, but I had a mocha this morning.  The kids are out of school tomorrow and I'm taking the day off to hang out.

It's been a quirky last few days.  Sam's been sick and stayed home the last couple days, but went in today.  Emma was out of school today.  I had a bad headache Monday night, but crashed on the couch and was fine the next day.

Berry is celebrating her birthday at school, and Joanna made a ton of cupcakes for her.  Saturday is the actual party, and hordes of children will descend upon our house for a Sonic themed event.

Sam and I continue to work away on our little programming project.  We found a doozy of a bug, which ended up being a misunderstanding as to how Java works.  He'll be happy to see things working nicely when I show him the fix tonight.

Joanna had a fun medical procedure yesterday, just checking up on some stomach problems.  Everything is fine, so no worries there.  When I picked her up yesterday, she was really woozy and couldn't really remember much.  I managed to get her home and she perked up around noon.

We went out last night to register at Target for wedding presents.  She got a little maniacal with the scanning gun.


April 12, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

Good morning!  Just a quick update to let everyone know that Isabell is doing well.  She didn't go to school yesterday or today, but I'm hoping that she'll be back tomorrow.  She has an appointment with the orthopedic doctor tomorrow, but I'm not sure they'll be able to do much more than the ER doctors did.  She is hoping they can do something to stablize her arm better, as the sling still allows a lot of bumping around to happen.  Otherwise she's happily getting bored out of her mind and upset at how much fun stuff she's missing - I take that as a good sign :)

Alan Wake

April 10, 2012 by Adam in Adam's Games

I picked up a few different video games that were on sale this last week.  Metro 2033 is an interesting Russian post-apocalyptic game that Sam recommended.  Alan Wake is a psychological horror game with literary elements.  I'm really getting into the latter, armed with a flashlight and battling the darkness that threatens the sleepy Pacific Northwest town of Bright Falls.

I'm slowly playing through an Indie platformer called Capsized.  The physics gameplay is fairly fun.

I also threw my money at some Kickstarter campaigns for upcoming games for developers I fondly remember from my past.  One made the pre-Fallout Wasteland and plan on making Wasteland 2.  The other worked on classic adventures like Full Throttle, Monkey Island, and Psychonauts.  Here's wishing them the best.

Monday in the ER

April 09, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

Sigh... poor Isabell.  This morning (we have the day off today) Robbie and I were in finishing coffee and reading the paper while Isabell was out playing on her swing.  She walked up to the back door crying and holding her arm.  Apparently, her swing broke from the tree, and while not far from the ground, she fell and additional 2-3 feet into the acequia :(

We thought she may have dislocated her shoulder, so we headed into Espanola and took her to the ER.  By the time we got there she was doing a little better, but her arm was still really sore.  They took some x-rays and sure enough she broke the neck of her right humorous.  They can't really cast that area of her upper arm/shoulder, so she's in a cast for the next 6 weeks or so.  We finally got her home (with a stop for ice cream), and now she's in bed watching movies.  I think the part she likes is that we'll have to help with her homework!  So goes the ups and downs of childhood.


April 09, 2012 by Adam in Family

It was a busy weekend.

On Friday, Emma discovered that her fish had babies.  There are several tiny shapes lurking in the plants.  Hopefully they won't be eaten.

Friday night we stayed at home, where we watched the end of the first season of Downton Abbey.  Joanna slept for a long while and I made delicious blueberry oatmeal pancakes for her. I tidied up and got out all the egg dying supplies.  Emma arrived late morning and we began the Easter madness.

The weather was nice, so we spent a long while outside working in the garden and letting the chickens run around.  Our yard is looking relatively presentable.  To reward ourselves, we had tea on the patio.  The last of the sample wedding cupcakes were devoured.  Emma and I hung out quite a bit.

That night Joanna and I went out to a coworker's wedding, driving to Creswell and then back to the Springfield Hilton.  It was pretty nice and got us thinking about our own vows and such.  We also made note of the things we planned to avoid (there won't be a promise to obey the husband in ours).  We ended the night with a swing dance on the floor, and then back home to kiss the kids goodnight.

Easter started early with basket hunting and breakfast.  When the weather improved, we went outside for an egg hunt and more gardening.  Poor Emma tripped and hurt her ankle, so she hobbled around for the day.  She did a good job helping me put stairs on the shed, drilling holes and remove staples.  For lunch we had Pegasus pizza and watched Mythbusters.  Eventually the day wound down and we had kebabs out on the patio.

Mocha Friday

April 06, 2012 by Adam in Family

Joanna brought home some Divine Cupcake cupcakes for us to sample last night.  They were all quite tasty and rich.  Even Sam ate one, which is unusual for the boy and his cake-disliking ways.  I think we have Sweet Life to test out next, but otherwise we're closing in on a final dessert for the wedding.

Sam's been reading Game of Thrones and enjoying it.  He declared that he was going to read throughout the wedding, though I suspect he'll get lured away by uncles and aunts and their boardgame-playing ways.  He was asking questions about the wedding, and we jokingly said he'd have to read long passages from the most boring book ever.  "The bible?" Emma exclaimed with perfect comedic timing.  We cracked up and Berry asked what the bible was. 

I had a strangely good time mingling with the doctors at the Eugene Country Club.  Joanna nominated a cancer and hospice physician for an award and the hospice doctor in particular was really touched.  I ran into him again when dropping off Duncan this morning and he thanked us again.  Jamie's OB while she was pregnant was also there.  Since I went to every visit, I told Dr. Babcock that it was nice seeing her in something other than the same outfit she seemed to wear every time we came.

It's Easter weekend, which means crazy egg decorating tomorrow.  Sam and Emma are off tonight, so we'll be watching the season finale of Downton Abbey.  Sunday we'll likely do pizza and Mythbusters for lunch, followed by lamb, tofu, and veggie kebabs for Easter dinner.  Sam also pleaded for me to help him with his game.  His little dude needs fire and smoke for his jet pack.

I'm Wearing a Tie

April 04, 2012 by Adam in Family

Joanna and I are having our hot date at the Eugene Country Club tonight and so I'm wearing a tie.  And yes, my coworkers have all given me a hard time.  It's part of a Doctor's Day event that Joanna is helping with.  I think I get to pass out champagne at one point.

The week has been relatively uneventful, except for the crazy weather.  I drove to the downtown Smith Family bookstore and had to wade through hail.  It was nostalgic being in that building again, as I used to go there for coffee, Marc Allan, and playing Hearts with friends.  Twenty years later, I'm picking up A Game of Thrones for Sam.  We'll see if he can make it through the 800+ pages.

We had an odd moment last night were Joanna realized blood was all over the floor.  Eventually we tracked it to Duncan, who immediately started crying once he realized he was bleeding.  It continued a surprising length of time until I calmed him down by explaining how cool a story he had for school the next day.

Emma sent me an e-mail last night, which was cool.  She was complaining that school involved a lot of work.  She's also taking Coyote Kids again, and will likely return with all sorts of nature lore.

Sam and I continue programming.  He kept having these "aha!" moments when I realized he understood what was going on. I'm quite proud of the boy.

Back Home

April 03, 2012 by Adam in Family

We're back home after our trip to the coast.  The weather there was mostly rain, with a brief respite the day we went to the aquarium.  Joanna was feeling poorly, so mostly we hung out, ate, and played lots of games.  I had a good time with Emma, who was willing to play whatever.  Sam excitedly talked about the new zombie game he bought.  Sam, my dad, and I all played Cosmic Encounter.  Another highlight was a new Mythbusters, which focused on duct tape.

Today was pretty full.  I've been stressing about the always-on sewage pump which is incredibly noisy.  I spent a couple hours fiddling and getting parts, eventually giving up after getting sewage sprayed on me (fortunately just from Sam's shower).  I'll call a plumber tomorrow.

Emma went off after breakfast to hang out with her mom.  I think Emma missed her after a long weekend away.  Sam and I hung out and wrote a lot of code.  In his Java game, you can now fly a little guy around and he'll collide realistically with walls and such.  We added maximum velocities and the ability to scroll the map around to keep you from flying off the screen.  Lots of math involved.

Joanna worked from home, but managed to get outside to enjoy the weather.  Sam and I walked over the hill to get our hair cut.  I wore shorts and wished for more days like this.

Looking forward to work tomorrow and hopefully relaxing a bit.

Grandmas' Lunch

March 29, 2012 by Sue in Wielesek

Am looking forward to a Grandma Lunch with Yayoe and Hanni tomorrow at McGrath's. I'm trying to figure out how to transfer photos to Picasa - I have great pix of Robbie, Seraph and Isa.

Playing Hooky

March 29, 2012 by Adam in Family

I had a great time playing hooky with Joanna yesterday.  We began the day by getting up late, unfortunately with both of us with a fairly bad headache.  We chewed on pain pills, bid farewell to the children, and hit up the Beanery for a mocha and chai latte.  That gave us the burst of energy needed to go next door to Down to Earth where we worked on our wedding registry.  At this point in our lives we have most of the critical household items, but look forward to replacing our rusty cookie sheets and chewed-up wooden spoons.  I always forget this weird "getting presents" part of weddings.

We headed to Skeie's next and picked out wedding rings.  We basically knew what we wanted, so it was mostly chatting with the owner and finishing our second mocha/chai of the day.  Next was a sushi place where my vegetable yakisoba was turned into chicken, which I found out after a few bites.  At least they tore up the bill.

Next was the mall and Hunger Games.  I enjoyed it, and found the visuals to be much more emotionally impactful than just reading certain sections.  I did miss Katniss' internal dialog.  I'm on the last book now and will likely finish this weekend.

Before heading home, we bought the last of my wedding outfit.  It's pretty casual and hip, which reflects our plans nicely.

Sam and Emma arrive tonight.  We're heading to the coast tomorrow.  Should be fun.

Melty Weekend

March 26, 2012 by Adam in Family

I tried hard not to do much all weekend, though I wasn't entirely successful.  Friday night was kid filled, due to the start of Spring Break.  The entire weekend was a mix of play and necessities.  I think Joanna was the only person to go anywhere (other than a pizza run).

Joanna slept in on Saturday, and Emma and I both had headaches.  I stuffed the kids with sausages and crepes, while Joanna and I had dutch babies.  I finished the Hunger Games book, played on the computer for a couple hours, and got some practical things done.  Emma finished the Star Wars movies.  We played outside with the last of the snow.  Joanna very nicely went food shopping and folded a lot of laundry.  Duncan, Emma, Sam, and I all played Apples-to-Apples and had a great time.

Sunday was another sleep-in day for Joanna while I magically made breakfast.  The little kids and I played in the basement to the point where I was exhausted.  Sam played through an old game of his.  Joanna made vases for the wedding out of Sculpey.  I finished cleaning up from the snow storm, pruning the camelia that was so badly damage.  It now looks much smaller, but relatively normal.

Sam and Emma went off to their mom's house this morning, so the house will be quiet for a few days.  Time to get ready for the upcoming beach trip.

Snowy Mocha Friday

March 23, 2012 by Adam in Family

It's mid-morning, my Friday mocha a pleasant memory.  I'm actually at work today, after staying at home with kids for the last couple days.  Sam was sick this morning, complaining of a headache.  He went to bed at dinner time and didn't wake up until seven, so I'm taking him at his word.

The last couple days have been full of kids and snow.  We worked from home with occasional breaks outside to hang out with kids.  Jessica came over to help with everyone.  Emma spent the last couple nights with us, as Jamie wasn't sure she had power Wednesday night.  With spring break around the corner, it seems like we've had a lot of time out of school.

I have a few snow repair tasks this weekend, but otherwise the plan is to hang out and enjoy the start of spring break.  Sam and Emma will go to their mom's house from Monday through Thursday, so I hope to enjoy them as much as I can.

Last night was pretty quiet after kids got to bed, as Sam was already asleep.  Joanna and I watched Downton Abbey, which is absolutely fantastic.

Poor cherry trees

March 22, 2012 by Sue in Wielesek

Hi, I don't know whether or not it's because they just started to bloom, and the blossoms caught the snow, but the cherry trees in Eugene are broken and the streets are strewn with cherry blossom branches. Today is gorgeous and sunny.


March 21, 2012 by Adam in Family

It snowed more last night than I'd ever seen in mild Eugene.  We had somewhere between 6 and 10 inches on the ground.  Power lines were down, trees were all over the road, and all the exits from I-5 were blocked.  You couldn't get here.  The schools, of course, were closed.

We decided to stay home and actually did a bit of work in between outings.  I took Berry out before breakfast.  Our neighbor Todd almost clocked me with a snowball.  The crazy neighbor boys ran around in the snow in shorts.  Berry and I played until it was time for breakfast.  We made a hearty breakfast of crepes and oatmeal pancakes.  I had a mocha.  It was filling and delicious.

Jamie took Emma over, as she was itching to play with kids her age.  We all went out again and built a fort.  Eventually everyone grew tired and the kids watched Star Wars in the basement.  I wrote code and dried off next to the fireplace.  Sam worked on his Minecraft world.

We lost a lot of branches from the camelia in back and a few of our bushes look droopy.  We didn't lose any trees or big branches, though some of our neighbors did.

Joanna has yet to get out of her pajamas.  Tonight is date night, and I think we're going to try walking to Off the Waffle.  Much of the snow has melted and it continues to rain. 

Such an interesting first day of spring.

Snow-Filled Weekend

March 19, 2012 by Adam in Family

The weather has been weird.  It snowed off and on all weekend, though it never actually stuck to the ground.  It was quite pretty, looking out the window and sipping my mocha.  This was after I made Dutch Babies and slathered them with powdered sugar, lemon juice, and syrup.  To top it off, the whole crew split a pain au chocolate.  Delicious.

The kids are all good.  Friday night we went out for dinner at Ratatouille and returned home to watch Downton Abbey.

Saturday morning I fetched Emma and she, Duncan, and I played pretend in the basement while Joanna took Berry to a doctor's appointment.  The rest of the day was fairly low-key.  I cleaned and did laundry.  I got the chance to play on my computer, finishing Orcs Must Die and getting to The End in Minecraft (though not beating the game).  The whole crew went to the library after lunch, returning with treasures.  Joanna made marshmellows from scratch.  Berry read her Sonic book all afternoon.  Emma watched a bit of Avatar, taking a break to eat snowflakes.  Duncan played Minecraft.  After dinner Emma worked on her cue cards for her Numbat speech.

Sunday morning was filled with breakfast and play.  Emma finished and practiced her speech.  Sam arrived, showing off his castle and town he built in Minecraft.  The whole crew went off to cheese park for a surprising length of time.  Joanna played music.  Pizza and Mythbusters wrapped up the day.

This morning I took Emma and Duncan to school.  It was snowing again, so I showed Duncan how to catch snowflakes with his tongue and gave him jumpies until my arms got tired.

It was a great weekend.

Working Computer!

March 17, 2012 by Sue in Wielesek

Thank you, Adam!

Adam just spent an hour with me and my new Dell computer, and I'm using it right now! I am hoping that I've covered all the areas I needed help with. I realize that I forgot to get help with that dumb "slow script" message on Facebook, but maybe the new computer will solve that problem. In the meantime, it's been sort of a down week; Bob's in the "cluster headache" mode; sometimes I wonder how he manages to be cheerful, as I hate to have headaches. On the bright side, Jordan and I went to see Big Miracle yesterday afternoon, which was a good movie for kids and adults. We've had almost non-stop rain for the week.

Hugs to all, again thanks to Seraph, Robbie and Isa, more kind words for Adam, and springtime is coming!


Mocha Friday

March 16, 2012 by Adam in Family

I made it to the end of the week.  My mocha is recently finished and I have a pile of work waiting for my attention.  Tonight is date night, and we're debating where to go.  Somewhere with food and music would be lovely.

It's been a little non-stop this week, full of kid homework, laundry, dishes, and making dinner.  My computer has been randomly rebooting and I've been attempting to fix it during all of this.  I ended up replacing the power supply on the dining room table during a brief moment between homework and bath.  I think I impressed Joanna with the tangle of wires.

Berry had fun participating in a U of O psychology experiment involving four year-olds and memory.  We kept joking about brain removal, though they apparently kept her skull untouched.  She thought it was a fine way to earn $10.

Emma woke up at 4:30 a.m. with some dream about me dying.  I think both Joanna and I are looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow if we can.  Sam's off of school today, so I left him a sandwich by the computer and a note telling him I love him.  I'll see him Sunday some time.  Duncan's lingering cough continues.  Mine is finally better, I think.

Pi day went relatively well.  The pumpkin pie was great, as was the quiche.  Sadly the gypsy pie didn't quite meet Joanna's memories from her English school girl days.

Looking forward to the weekend and hopefully a little down time.

Happy Pi Day!

March 14, 2012 by Adam in Family

It's 3/14, which is Pi Day among the nerdy crowd.  Joanna cheerfully informed me yesterday, and followed up with baking pumpkin and gypsy pie for tonight.  Evidently gypsy pie is a favorite from her childhood, basically a milk and sugar filling.  Sam might even eat that one.  My only contribution was making a new batch of whip cream this morning.

It's been a low-key week, as is often the case.  Sam was going to go to Newport on a field trip, but it got cancelled.  I'm relieved, as I didn't really want him out on a boat in 70 mph wind gusts.  He's a big kids and all, but that's a bit much.  Since it's the last week of the term, his homework is pretty light.  Sam finished Ender's Game today and is moving on to A Planet Called Treason.  We watched 28 Days Later on Monday night, and another Walking Dead last night.  Perhaps tonight we'll catch the season finale.

Duncan and Berry have been their normal selves - going from funny to maddening and back again.  Usually it's Berry who has moments of great stubbornness and sweetness.  Duncan's pretty good-natured if occasionally rambunctious.

Joanna and I continue to get ready for the wedding and do the normal life routines.  Best of all, we seem to have a knack for making each other laugh.  It helps immensely.

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggidy Jig

March 14, 2012 by Sue in Wielesek

We left 66 degree New Mexico to arrive in Portland last night to a fierce snowfall, heavy and wet. Fortunately, Bob is a great driver, though we didn't get into bed until 3 a.m.

We had a wonderful vacation with Seraph, Robbie and Isa. The first day we we spent in Albuquerque, going to the zoo-botanical garden-aquarium complex, which is really amazing. The zoo has spacious areas for the animals, and the acquarium's choice and display of sealife is engaging.

Right now I'm so tired I can move, so I'll just wish everyone good-night!


Groggy Monday

March 12, 2012 by Adam in Family

So, Daylight Savings just happened.  I somehow woke up ten minutes before the alarm and managed to drag everyone out of bed in time for work and school.  I'm still a little groggy, but mostly functional.

Jenny, Jordan, dad, and our crew (minus Sam) all headed to Roaring Rapids for pizza in honor of dad's birthday.  The little kids loved the carousel.  Emma became enamored with the claw game, desperately wanting a dolphin stuffy.  Joanna loved the gluten free pizza, and we all had a great time chatting and hanging out.

We had dutch babies and crepes for Saturday breakfast.  Joanna went to get a sassy haircut, leaving the kids and I to do science. We played with baking powder and food coloring.  A great mess was made by all.  Joanna took the little kids shopping after lunch.  Emma and I hit up the library and got a snail for her slime-encrusted fish tank. I had gotten Sims 3 with the Sim Pets expansion, and so everyone had fun riding their ponies about for the rest of the rainy afternoon.

Sunday was fairly quiet, getting Sam late in the morning.  We played, kids did sewing projects, Sam worked on homework, and we chased chickens outside.  Emma found her dessicated fish that had lept from the tank, and we had a small ceremony in the back yard.

The circle of life continues.

Adventure in Chaco Canyon

March 10, 2012 by Sue in Wielesek

Yesterday we all drove to the Chaco Canyon National Park, about two hours west of here. It's a World Heritage site, with many small (10-20 families) villages throughout the canyon, and some very large ceremonial complexes with hundreds of rooms. The buildings were made of stone with adobe covering; the adobe is pretty much washed away but the rock is still pretty sturdy. Some of the buildings were three or four stories high.

We're headed into Espanola to see The Lorax; Isa is a kick. As Grandma Sadie would have said, "Standing with reluctant feet where childhood and womanhood meet."

Love to all!

Mocha Friday

March 09, 2012 by Adam in Family

Berry woke me up around 5:30 this morning, cheerfully explaining how she just wanted someone to tell her dream to.  Midway through Duncan wandered in and proceeded to tell me his as well.  I left them watching Sonic on Netflix and stumbled off to take a shower.

It's been a fairly typical last few days.  Sam's been struggling with the new contacts that Dr. Arbow gave him.  They seem better today, but it may be that he goes back to his old brand.  His vision has declined slightly, but not dramatically so.  I'm still the most blind of anyone in the household.

We've got a family pizza dinner with Jenny and crew tonight, and Emma's friend Kate is in a play tomorrow.  There are assorted plans for the weekend such as a library trip and shopping sprees.  Hopefully the weather is nice and we can putter in the garden some more.  Spring is starting to feel like it's creeping up on us, with some warm days in between the hail and snow.  At least the flowers are blooming.

Here in Chimayo!

March 09, 2012 by Sue in Wielesek

It's wonderful to see Seraph and Robbie's house. It's certainly not a "new" house, having been built in 1820. It was remodeled about ten years ago by people who did a very careful job. Bob and I are sitting in part of the original house, with the hand carved vigas (exposed roof beams) and adobe walls. Seraph and Robbie have put up book shelves, and their books cover the end wall and about thirty feet of a side wall. I'll download pictures from my camera when we get back to Eugene. Depending on the weather (snow's predicted) we may go to Chaco Canyon tomorrow. The two dogs are fine - Chester is recovering. I'll try to post more often; many hugs and kisses from Bob and Sue


Mid-Week Update

March 07, 2012 by Adam in Family

It's halfway through the week, filled with the usual wacky family comedy.

Sam lost his contact this morning, his last pair, and so I was scrambling around on his floor trying to find the thing.  Fortunately he's going to the eye doctor today and hopefully getting new ones soon.  I've added a backup pair of glasses to his "have to have" list, as otherwise he'd be absolutely blind at school.

Duncan and I continue to have an annoying cough.  I ended up moving to Emma's bed since she's off, and I woke up coughing.  Hopefully the two of us are on the mend.

Joanna was worn out last night, and gave me that pleading look asking if I could read stories to the kids.  I had been playing Overgrowth with Sam, so I handed her the controller and we swapped duties.  While I was reading princess and Calvin & Hobbes books, I overheard them laughing in the living room.  I think Joanna found the ninja bunny game to be somewhat cathartic.

Tonight is our hot date night.  I think the plan is to grab a bite to eat and then shop for a wedding outfit for me.  The wedding plans are coming together nicely and we're all getting excited.

Happy birthday!

March 05, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy birthday Dad!!  I hope you're getting some time off to play and enjoy the day!

Chickens and Play Dates

March 05, 2012 by Adam in Family

Joanna and I went out on a hot date on Friday, going to a coffee shop to listen to a folk singer.  She played "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," so she was okay in my book.

I fetched Emma the next morning and after some hang out time, we caught our non-egg-laying chicken Melody and took her to a farm, picking out a new chicken we named Golden Pheonix.  Upon our return, Henrietta was very aggressive, pecking Goldie's neck until it bled.  Emma and Joanna built a little fenced off area in our coop to keep the smaller bird safe.  Hopefully the girls will all settle down in a few days.

Emma went off to Kate's birthday party and sleepover.  Evidently they were up until past midnight, only getting six hours of sleep.  Emma was so tired the next day that she fell asleep on the couch and was still pretty tired this morning.

As for Sunday, Joanna went to church with Duncan, and took both kids to a play date out in Marcola.  I hung out with kids and finished listening to Ready Player One.  It was a great book, and I managed a tremendous amount of cleaning while listening to it.  Sam, Emma, and I ran around outside playing tag in the sunlight.  Joanna and I also managed a bit of gardening.

The sun felt so nice.  Duncan ran around shirtless with the neighbor boys.  I took mine off to do some hoeing.  Spring is coming.

Spacy Mocha Friday

March 02, 2012 by Adam in Family

I took Nyquil last night, which always leaves me a little spacy the next day.  I've yet to actually get my hands on a mocha, as I'm stuck in a rather boring meeting at the moment, but my plan is to get that delicious caffeine in my belly as soon as possible.

I've been sick the last few days with a cold that's more annoying than anything else.  I stayed home yesterday, though I worked all day.  I feel pretty good today, though I'm at the stage where all the mucous solidifies and makes me feellike my head is made of concrete.

The kids are generally all doing okay.  Sam and Duncan had a slight cough this morning, but otherwise seemed fine.  Emma's her usual cheerful self.

We're buying a piano off Craigslist, which is getting picked up today.  Joanna's been wanting one for awhile, both for herself and teaching the kids.  Emma in particular is excited to have a piano in both her homes.

Joanna went shopping for wedding dresses yesterday, and settled on one that she liked.  It's looking like our colors will be desert blue and chocolate - I'll be sure to give the correct CMKY colors for everyone so they can match appropriately.  We might go with cream dresses for the girls too.

As for the weekend, we have a few things going on.  The plan is to replace our non-egg-laying chicken with a new one.  Emma's going to Kate's birthday party and potentially spending the night.

Life's good.

More about the dog...

March 02, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

I went to visit Chester today, and she nearly knocked me down with excitement and energy.  Yeah!!  It will be another day before she can eat baby food (though she apparently chewed through 2 IV tubes and tried to eat a syringe cap), and she may have to stay on easy to digest dog food (the stuff for old dogs) for the rest of her life (ie less intestine to digest). 

In addition to the dog news, I've been subbing at Alcalde Elementary the last two days (first for 4th, then for 5th grade).  Isa and Robbie are ready for spring break next week, and we're really excited to see Mom and Bob next week!


March 01, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

Quick update on our dog Chester.  She went in for exploritory surgery today.  They originally thought something was obstructing her stomach, but when they opened her up they realized that whatever virus she had had damaged a section of her small intestant.  They removed about 3ft, sewed her together, and now we're hoping she can finally recover.


Mardi Gras, Snow, and Play

February 28, 2012 by Adam in Family

I wanted to post a video of the weekend's activities.  I had forgotten about our brief blizzard, which blanketed the yard with a lovely layer of white.  It vanished as quickly as it came.

The girls were especially cute over the weekend.


February 28, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

Yesterday Isa and I went to visit Chester at the vet.  She's appears better, but not well enough to come home yet.  The vet said the next 24-48 hours will be important - whether or not she's really getting better or not.

After dinner Isabell had a spill on her roller blades (in the house).  She bumped her knee badly, but Robbie (like any good father) reminded her that she wasn't allowed to be too hurt because we'd have to shoot her or Chester.  We can't afford to have them both injured! 

Other than the little bumps, life continues along.  I subed at Dixon yesterday for the 5/6 grade class, and today I'm heading down to Santa Fe to run errands. 

Sick Kid Monday

February 28, 2012 by Adam in Family

Sam and Emma were both home sick today.  Emma was borderline, having been sick all weekend.  Sam was clearly pretty wiped out, and slept for 13 hours.  Both are on the mend, with Sam resting in bed and listening to Ready Player One.  Emma listened to Dragon's Breath and made little paper houses and people in her bedroom.  Joanna very sweetly came by to visit for lunch, which I greatly appreciated.

The weekend was generally pleasant.  We had all kids on Friday, and went out to Charlemagne for the carnival.  Emma was pretty draggy by then, so we sat in the car after hitting up the snack table.  Duncan and Berry thoroughly enjoyed the games, returning with all manner of prizes.  We tucked everyone to bed, and the three of us watched Portlandia and Arrested Development.

Saturday was fairly low-key.  We had a hearty breakfast.  The girls painted. Joanna took Duncan and Berry to a post-Valentine's Day party.  Emma and I finished her Australian stuffed animal (some sort of ant eater thingie).  Sam finished his school book and picked his This I Believe topic, learning through mistakes.  Much laundry and house work was done.  I played a little Borderlands with Sam, Matt, and Josh.  The day wrapped up with pizza and Mythbusters.

Sam started getting a little wonky on Sunday, likely due to impending illnesses.  He got frustrated with his moldy cheese science experiment, descending to his room to rest for awhile.  Emma had some great moments with Berry and Duncan.  After watching old family videos, she got Duncan playing Pretty Pretty Princess.  Joanna worked diligently on the front planting box, while I planted carrots, peas, and radishes in the raised beds.  With the snow and hail, I'm thankful I put up the cloches.

All-in-all, it was a pleasant weekend, if a little tiring at times.  Joanna has a class tonight at church.  I have a tub to caulk, Sam's homework to coordinate, but otherwise am planning a boy's night, likely with zombie-filled shows.

Mardi Gras Mocha Friday

February 24, 2012 by Adam in Family

My mocha has vanished, caffeine cheerfully bubbling away in my veins.

We've had reminders of Mardi Gras throughout the week.  On Fat Tuesday, we stuffed ourselves with crepes.  Berry has been making harlequin masks at school.  Tonight we're going to the Mardi Gras carnivale at Duncan's school. I suspect tonight will be a bit of a madhouse, but hopefully we'll survive and perhaps enjoy ourselves a little.

It's a full house this weekend, with Sam staying with us.  We don't have any grand plans.  Duncan has a post-Valentine's Day party on Saturday.  I have assorted house projects.  Sam and Emma have a bit of homework.  Still, I think we'll have a generally low-key weekend, which tend to be my favorite kinds.

The Cheese

February 24, 2012 by Adam in Sam

Sam's done a pretty good job catching up with all of his school work.  He often seems to get a little behind due to illness, and at midterms there are surprises that mean everyone has to scramble to catch up.  Unfortunately Sam can get somewhat despondent along the way.

Fortunately we're all caught up, and working away at the end of the term projects.  For his biology class he's studying decomposition based on my recommendation.  We've made a poster of cheese, each treated differently, and are taking nightly pictures of their decomposition.  The one in water is turning to mush, the salted one is strangely pulling water out of the cheese, the control cheese looks slightly dry, and the one in dirt is sprouting mold all over the place.

Sam also hates writing about personal things, and he unfortunately has an assignment where he's required to do so.  The examples in class involved things like overcoming anorexia, dyslexia, or the death of a family member.  Sam was complaining that nothing terrible happens to him.  I suggested making up a story about a dyslexic sister who died of anorexia, but he wasn't buying it.

Love in the Verizon Store

February 23, 2012 by Adam in Family

A random customer in the Verizon store came up to me last night and said that Joanna and I were a very cute couple.  I took it as a good sign.

We both got new phones last night, a slightly delayed bi-annual Valentine's Day tradition.  We went with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which has great specs, as well as being "pretty" according to Joanna.  The one failing seems to be lousy battery life, but Verizon has a sale on a slightly bigger battery, so those are on the way.  We're still both figuring out how all the new features work.  The voice chat was pretty cool.  The latest version of the Android operating system is pretty slick.  All-in-all, I'm happy with my purchase.

Counting blessings

February 23, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

I suppose I should be counting my blessings and not my bank account balance.  We took Chester into the vet yesterday, where they thought she may have Parvo.  After shelling out several hundred dollars to get her on IV's and have her tested, Isabell and I headed home. 

Happily we got a call from thevet in the evening and the test for Parvo came back negative.  They think she may have eaten something toxic and then became really dehydrated from vomiting too much.  It won't be cheep, but she'll get better. 

Then... shortly after that happiness the buzzer on our septic tank went off.  Sigh.  The guys are coming out to pump it today.  Good thing we all get paid on Friday!  Septic tanks are one of the difficult parts of rural living.  Because we live on a very small (.25 acre) lot, we have to have a specialized, and very small, tank.  They installed in in June, so it looks like every 6-7 months we'll need to have it pumped.  I guess the upside is that our property taxes are only a few hundred dollars a year (yippy for sales tax)!


February 22, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

We had an amazingly relaxing weekend.  The house got cleaned up, furniture rearranged, and a lot of movies were watched.  At school (for Robbie and Isabell) this week is really low-key.  Yesterday there was a school wide field trip to the family fun center in Taos.  The kids got to go swimming and ice skating, and everyone had pizza for lunch.  They have regular classes today and tomorrow, and then their last ski trip is on Friday.  Even with all of this going on, the teachers were panicing yesterday as they realized that there were only 9 instructional days until testing starts (it will last for about 3 weeks).

Today Isabell is home sick.  We've all been trading colds around, and even the puppy (Chester) is sick.  I'll take her into the vet this afternoon.  Sadly, while I can feed my kid Tylanol and cold meds, the dog will cost a lot more :(

Thank You, Mr. President

February 21, 2012 by Adam in Family

We had a wonderful three day weekend thanks to Presidents' Day.  Sam and Emma went to the coast with Jamie until Sunday afternoon, so it was surprisingly quiet.

On Friday, Joanna and I went out to eat sushi and look at new phones.  We didn't quite pick one, but I think tomorrow night we'll be formalizing the arrangement.  My current phone is painfully slow at times, so I'm eager to get one that's moderately functional again.

Saturday morning I stuffed B&D with crepes as usual, and Joanna and I ate gluten free dutch babies.  It's so tasty and easy - I'm craving it already for next weekend.  I left late morning and went off to Jerry's for supplies, as I had a long to do list.  Over the next few days I managed to replace the cutting board, put up cloches in the garden beds, recaulk the tub, and probably a few other things I forgot about.

We headed to Springfield to watch Berry and Duncan's dance routine.  Berry was a little nervous, but they both did quite well.  We didn't have a clue as to what their dance routine was, so it was neat to finally get to see it.  Jessica showed up as well to show her support, which I thought was cool. 

led up characters and dragged me down to the basement.  Our game went really well, and continued to the next day.  I love how the two of them work together and cheer their successes.  It was a lovely sibling moment.

The day wrapped up with pizza and Mythbusters, and the next morning was crepes all around.  Joanna worked from home, and Jessica watched D&B in the afternoon, taking them to minature golf and ice cream.  Sam, Emma, and I essentially played all day, with a short break to chase chickens and rumpus in the basement.

All is well.

Way Too Much Coffee Friday

February 17, 2012 by Adam in Family

It was great having both kids home last night.  Everyone was pleasant and funny around the dinner table.  Both Sam and Emma really wanted me when I arrived home, and I bounced between the two of them, helping them out with their various tasks.  Joanna graciously helped Emma with her school project, which involved making a stuffed animal - some sort of ant eating marsupial whose name I forget.

I had breakfast with my mom this morning, which was pleasant as always.  The Glenwood supplied me with an endless bounty of coffee.

Joanna and I are going out tonight, likely somewhere for dinner and then off to look at cell phones.  Good times.

The Vomitorium

February 16, 2012 by Adam in Adam

I think I got food poisoning last night.  I started getting a headache after dinner, which got worse even with painkillers.  I woke up around midnight in excruciating pain, ate some cereal and more painkillers, and tried to get back to sleep.  That didn't work and I ended up writhing around in Emma's bed for most of the night.  Somewhere around three I started throwing up, which was strangely helpful.  I finally got to sleep close to five, and was woken up by Joanna as she was about to leave for work.

The moral of the story is to not eat those indian spicy food packets from the ethnic section of the store.  I think I'm going to stick to actual food that I prepare with my own hands using fresh ingredients.  Fortunately I was the only person who had any last night.

I'm feeling much better at the moment, working away from home and waiting for pain killers to kick in.  What was an amazing amount of pain is now just a slightly annoying ache.  I'm going to start getting ready for work and then head in.  Maybe I'll skip the gym and go for a walk during lunch, depending on how I feel.

Post-Valentine's Day

February 15, 2012 by Adam in Family

It was a pleasant Valentine's Day, beginning with presents at the breakfast table.  Joanna unwrapped her gravy boat, which was deeply symbolic of my love for her.  She gave me a funny look and discovered the box with earrings inside.  The kids got their cards and goodies as well.

Jamie and I met for a long while at a coffee house that morning, talking about the kids and child support calculations.  I think we have things sorted out.

I felt vaguely guilty getting into work so late, and left a little early to pick up goodies at Sweet Life.  Sam showed off all his candy wrappers.  He was pleasantly surprised at the number of people who gave him candy throughout the day.  Mostly the night was full of homework, as Sam is completely swamped with a major project coming up.  I called Emma and wished her a happy Valentine's Day.  I'm excited to see her tomorrow.

LA Noire

February 13, 2012 by Adam in Adam's Games

I've been enjoying LA Noire, playing a detective in 1940s Los Angeles.  The gameplay consists of finding clues, talking to suspects, and occasionally running/driving/shooting my way to a conclusion.  The stories are quite interesting, and I particularly enjoy the immersion into the time period.  Occasionally I find myself wandering around town in my car, or stepping out to look at a store front. 

There's not all that much to do, other than the major cases or minor street crimes that sprout up around town.  Still, I'm enjoying that sense of belonging and the emotional stories that draw me in.

Egg Drops

February 13, 2012 by Adam in Family

Friday night was crazy fun.  First was the crazy part, taking Berry and Duncan to the carnival at Emma's school.  The madness level was high and I'm thankful we made it out with our lives.  Afterward Joanna and I went out to Cosmic Pizza to chat and pretend we were a young, hip couple.  It was fun.

It was a fairly pleasant, low-key weekend.  Emma came home late on Saturday, and we had a good time puttering about.  We ended up going through my old memory box, finding all sorts of strange treasures.  I came across the old "Sorry about the egg problem" note that Seraph send me when she was a little kid, so I had to take a picture and send that to her.  Emma found an old piece of art that's now in her room.  I organized a bit and cleaned out some space so that we could use the downstairs kitchen area as more of a pantry.

Sam arrived on Sunday and we had a fairly busy day.  I made pigs in a blanket, which was generally appreciated.  We then arranged an egg drop off the balcony.  Tensions were high, but I think the majority enjoyed themselves. 

Science Girl

February 13, 2012 by Adam in Emma

Emma has been having fun with science as of late.  Last weekend her fish died, and we stuck it in the freezer as she wanted to dissect it.  I'm not quite sure how much hard science was done, but I think Emma found it quite interesting.


In the final semester

February 10, 2012 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Greg has 11 more weeks of his undergraduate math career. He's applied to teaching fellowships at UMass Amherst and Math for America in Boston, but may also explore other options. Either way, we'll be moving this summer to somewhere with sidewalks, which is exciting.

Work is great, and I'm getting work work on a variety of projects that stretch my liberal arts and public policy backgrounds. I also get to write articles for True Impact's blog and manage our Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media accounts - a good way to learn the field. 

Since the giant, crippling snow storm of Halloween, it has snowed once, so the New England landscape has a barren post-apocalyptic creepiness. I'm definitely looking forward to spring, our June visit to Eugene, and our August scotch tour of Scotland. 

Our meat CSA has finally finished, leaving us with a freezer of pork and beef. Any chuck steak/pork ribs/sausage/ground beef recipes are welcome!

Tuckered Out Mocha Friday

February 10, 2012 by Adam in Family

I'm beat.

Fortunately my mocha lies before me, slowly being sipped away.  It was pretty crazy yesterday, where I hit the ground running and never really stopped.  On the plus side, both kids got all the homework done and Sam is well on his way to getting caught up again.  Joanna has been sick for much of this week, though Emma and I are mostly recovered.

Tonight we have a carnival at Emma's school, and then Joanna and I are going somewhere for dinner.  Tomorrow Duncan has his chess tournament.  Emma arrives around noon.  I'm going to try really hard to take it easy.

Hanging in There

February 08, 2012 by Adam in Family

Sickness is coming through our house once again.

Emma was sick Monday and Tuesday.  I started feeling achy yesterday, and have been mixing Mochas and Advil throughout the day.  This morning Berry was super cranky, and Joanna is currently staying home with her (though she feels lousy too).

Joanna was off on a work trip from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., so I juggled everyone myself without too much trouble.  My mom came to help, which was great.

Hopefully everyone will perk up by the weekend.

Rearranging the Weekend Away

February 07, 2012 by Adam in Family

I have no idea what happened to us Saturday morning.  Sure, I could blame the mocha or the bright sun streaming through the windows.  Whatever the cause, Joanna and I went on a massive spring cleaning of sorts, getting rid of unneeded things and rearranging as we went.

Sam's cluttered desk is now bare.  Our shelves have been cleaned out of weird knick-nacks.  We moved Emma's computer desk by the window and moved Joanna's never-used desk downstairs.  Everything looks quite neat and tidy.  To finish the job, Emma and I worked together to clean up her room.  Her endtable mess has been neatly filed.  The weird bag of things has been gone through and put away.  Such blissful organization.

The weekend wasn't all about rearranging.  Berry and Duncan ran around, their usual wacky selves.  Duncan is quite proud of his ability to feed himself.  I causually showed him how to get goldfish crackers for himself, and now we find them vanishing at an alarming rate.  Berry ran across Emma's old vampire teeth and decided to wear them for much of the morning.


Joanna worked on taxes all Sunday morning, finishing before I did.  Sam arrived for buttermilk pancakes, which were completely devoured.  Emma and I took apart the air swimmer and made a boat of sorts.  The tail flapped and propelled it through the kiddie pool.  I got Sam outside as well and the two of them did crazy stunts on the swings.

We played and ate and chatted the day away.  Mythbusters and pizzas were enjoyed.  The weekend wound down.

I worked from home today, as Emma was feeling under the weather.  I was mostly productive, checking up on her periodically as she listened to books on tape in bed.

Mocha Friday

February 03, 2012 by Adam in Family

Work continues to be busy after my big go-live earlier this week.  I'm hoping my mocha-fortified brain can tackle the last of the issues and achieve application Nirvana.

Joanna is staying home with Berry today.  She was sick yesterday and slept for fifteen hours.  This morning she was in bed playing with glue and sequins.  And maybe some mystical portal to the nether world.  Hard to tell.

Emma was complaining about eye issues before school, but I think she's okay.  Sam seems recovered from starting up his workouts at school again.  It no longer hurts to laugh.

I asked everyone what they wanted to do this weekend.  Emma wants to clean the fish tank.  Joanna wants to do taxes.  Sam wants to work on our game.  Duncan is all about watching Sonic videos and playing video games.  I have a few house projects, and would love to read a little, but otherwise a quiet weekend sounds wonderful.

Winding Down the Week

February 02, 2012 by Adam in Family

Thursday already.  Strange how that happened.

It's generally been a good week.  Our insurance companies ended up paying more than we expected due to the lost jewelry.  I think we impressed them with our criminal catching ways and recovery of all the laptops.  Taxes for me also look pretty good so far.  My life has been in such transition that I never know if I'll owe anything or not.  The end result is that I feel much better about buying wedding rings, paying for a wedding, and trying to arrange a honeymoon of some kind. 

Joanna and I went out last night for sushi and did some wedding planning while we waited.  I think our guest list is manageable, and hopefully we can get invitations out soon.

Sam's been working away at homework.  He's decided he's not fond of Spanish, and his health class is making all his muscles sore.  He is improving, however, and noted that he could now do three push-ups instead of none.  He's strangely enjoying biology too, accidentally learning something about cell biology by reading the textbook in an otherwise unexciting class.  He also picked up Ender's Game, one of my favorites that I've been trying to get him to read for years.  Sam thought it was pretty great, and he only just started it.

I think Berry might be a little sick these days.  We've had some changing of the sheets in the middle of the night, grumpiness at school, and a sore throat this morning.  Fortunatley everyone else seems okay.

Today is an Emma day and I'm excited to see her tonight.

Making Movies

February 02, 2012 by Adam in Emma

Last weekend, Emma ran around, conscripting everyone to make movies for and with her.  There were a variety of commercials and a documentary, followed by a wedding.  After you get through my goofy parts at the beginning, it gets much better.  There's even a bit with the gerbil.

The week to come

January 31, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

This week I'm talking hands on science to a new level at Dixon!  First we're doing egg experiments.  We'll be looking to see what happens when their submerged in vinegar, soda, bleach and OJ for various amounts of time.  I showed them the chemical formula, and promised that they didn't have to remember it until highschool!  I did get to explain about the CO2 gas and why we couldn't put lids on them.  If the kids handle this well, we'll move on to Diet Coke and Mentos experiments.  If I can get approval from the principal that is :)

I talked to the teacher, Jeannie, today.  It looks like she'll be out until 2/13 at the earliest.  I hope I can keep the momentum until then!

Pleasant Monday

January 30, 2012 by Adam in Family

It was a treat having all four kids from Friday through Monday morning.  It was surprisingly less of a madhouse than you'd think, and there were many times when everyone played together exceedingly well.

Saturday morning began with Emma dressing up Berry as her baby.  Later they all became poor children, begging for money.  We eventually adopted them and fed them crepes, which they ate with wonder and amazement.  Sam eventually crawled out of bed and I stuffed him full of crepes and eggs.

We then had a family outing to Supercuts, where they processed us efficiently in twenty minutes.  Sam and I got a neat little cut, Emma has her bob back.  Duncan had the most dramatic change, with his 2010 Justin Beiber haircut turning into a 2011 Justin Beiber haircut.  He thinks he looks younger, and so he likes it.  Everyone else thinks he looks older.  We celebrated the blessed event with a trip next door to Metropol.

The rest of the afternoon was pretty low-key.  We played and hung out.  Duncan went to a birthday party.  Pizza and Mythbusters occurred.

Sunday was eggs and bacon for all, followed by Joanna going to church.  Emma and I taught Duncan how to play Forbidden Island.  Sam and I played more Cortex Command, which is great but buggy.  Emma went around making commercials and documentaries.  Eventually we had lunch, which turned into a series of funny games.  Joanna arrived and we went on a rather long trip to Toys R Us, the fish store, and the library. 

It was a little grueling, but Emma got some replacement fish for the one that died.  Duncan ended up with Moshi Monster stuffies and stickers.  Berry bought two pairs of princess gloves.  I picked up my library book.

The evening ended up with tacos, the series finale of Chuck, and waking up the next morning at 5:30 a.m., thinking it was actually 6:30 a.m.

The weekend!

January 29, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

I don't think I've been so happy for a weekend in many years!  We all worked really hard this week, with a lot of late nights catching up on housework and classroom planning.  I gave my kids a little break on Friday and (after their spelling/math quizes) we did a claymation project.  I showed them projects done by other students, and a Wallace and Grommet clip, then we broke into small groups so they could develope their own stories.  After lunch we all went to the art room to play with modeling clay and create our characters.  Overall, a lot more fun then the usual reading/math/social studies!

Yesterday we puttered around the house while Robbie ran to Sante Fe to deposit our paychecks.  Today we ate french toast, are getting ready to do a little cleaning, and then I'll be planning for the next week.  Tomorrow it's back to work!

Seven O'Clock Mocha

January 27, 2012 by Adam in Family

Sam and Emma are at their mom's, Duncan and Berry don't have school, and Joanna is staying at home.  That freak set of occurrences led me to coming to work at seven in the morning, something I did for years before assorted responsibilities caught up with me.  It's now eight and no one is at work yet.

Sam didn't make it to school yesterday, though it sounds like Emma did.  Jamie's going somewhere this weekend, so we'll have all four kids at home tonight.  I don't think we have any particular plans, and a boring weekend at home sounds wonderful.  I do want to take Sam out to get his hair cut, perhaps on Saturday.

Mask of the Red Death

January 25, 2012 by Adam in Family

Okay, it's not quite that bad, but it does seem that everyone is sick these days.  Earlier this week Duncan came home from school with stomach pain, and Joanna has been working from home as she felt pretty cruddy.  Jessica was sick and we sent her home early.  Yesterday Emma stayed home and Sam got sick at school, with Joanna picking him up.

At the moment, Sam's sleeping and Emma's reading quietly upstairs.  My stomach is a little funky, but I'm managing to work.  It does seem to be the season.

Sam's choir concert is tonight, assuming he can make it.  We need to pick up his shirt from school at lunch today, and then his all-black outfit will be complete.  It's still amazing that he can wear my shoes, though I'm still a little taller than he is, for a few months more at least.

Go-Live Monday

January 23, 2012 by Adam in Family

It's go-live morning at work, and I just successfully (I hope) finished getting things in place.  I still have some work to do, but it's the culmination of nearly a year of work.  It's nice to have it be so anticlimactic.

We had a far less exciting weekend, mostly hanging out with kids and celebrating Joanna's birthday.  Friday night was our date night, going to dinner at the Campbell House and then to the Very Little Theater for a play.  The first part of The Underpants was pretty good, if quite risque and quirky.  The ending, however, was unsatisfactory.  Maybe it was the madness-inducing red light and carnival like farwell.

I picked up Emma from her mom's while still in my PJs, and we all sat down for crepes and goodies.  I ran a lot of errands with Emma, picking up a new fish and tank for the misbehaving Chinese algae eater.  We also hit the library and filled up the air swimmer I got for Joanna's birthday.  I ended up giving it to Joanna early as I wasn't sure the Helium would stay.  I also managed to set up the new motion sensing cameras, which have been dutifully reporting motion to my phone periodically. 

Sunday was Joanna's birthday, and lots of hang out time.  Sam and I played a bunch of Cortex Command.  I made everyone either walk or play Just Dance 3 for exercise.  There was much playing with the fish, and the little kids put on a play where Berry was the minister between Nemo (the floating fish) and Emma's Barbie.  It was hysterically fun.

The evening wrapped up with pizza and Mythbusters, followed by cake.  Now we're back to the normal routine.  Hopefully the week will be relatively uneventful.

Here's a video of the weekend and Duncan and I's half-birthdays from last Thursday:

Happy birthday!

January 22, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy birthday Isabell and Joanna!  What a wonderful day to be born!

Vaguely Bitter Mocha Friday

January 20, 2012 by Adam in Family

It's been a week and it's looking less promising that we'll recover the stolen jewelry.  I just got off the phone with the insurance company and it sounds like mine won't cover Joanna's stolen jewelry.  I think we'll end up getting a little from insurance, but not all that much.  Mom has been great calling all the pawn shops and I may go on a pawn shop tour next week to see if anything shows up.

On a happier note, Duncan and I celebrated our half birthdays yesterday.  I got a couple shirts and he got a couple video games.  Joanna arranged for goodies, and I saved half of my delicious bear claw to eat with my morning mocha.

Tonight Joanna and I are going to dinner and play to celebrate her birthday.  The latter sounds quite funny and risque. 

As for the weekend, I'm hoping to have a little downtime and work on some house projects.  I continue to fiddle with the security systems, the first piece of which was installed last night.  More arrive Monday, and hopefully we can adjust the sensitivity to keep the false positives to a minimum.  As it is, my webcam e-mailed me three times this afternoon.

Sunday is Joanna's official birthday.  There will be cake and presents.  Tomorrow I hope to accomplish some secret projects in preparation for the big event.


January 20, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

Sorry all if I'm out of touch for awhile.  I will be substituting for the 3/4 grade at Dixon for the next 2+ weeks because of a medical issue the teacher is having.  Love to all!

Wedding Planning

January 18, 2012 by Adam in Family

We met with Peg at Mount Pisgah this morning, an exceedingly cheerful ex-OSU teacher who seemed almost as excited about the wedding as we are.  She showed us around the pavillion and facilities, which seemed wonderfully non-traditional.  We did our best to imagine a warm summer day with full leaves on the oak trees, even though it was wet, windy, and chilly.  Despite it all, I think it will be great and there will be lots of things for people to do, and interesting places for the kids to explore.

I sicked mom on tracking down our stolen property.  The detective we're working with seems to think it's completely lost at this point, but my mom has tenaciously been giving it her best.  I figure we'll give it a few more days and then call the insurance company.

Joanna's taken the last couple days off to get some downtime.  Yesterday she spent part of the day watching the Dresden Files on Netflix and knitting, cooking baked oatmeal, and getting acupuncture.  Today she's been running a lot more errands, but hopefully had a few moments to take it easy.

I'm looking forward to Friday and taking Joanna out on a birthday extravaganza.  Should be fun for both of us.

John's family arrive today!

January 18, 2012 by Yayoe in Yayoe

HI There,

John's family will be arriving this afternoon from Boston and Seattle. We'll have almost a week of fun and adventures. We plan a lot of different activites and are relieved the weather yielded rain versus snow. After they depart I'll be leaving for Honolulu from February 1-9th. Sorry to miss the next family dinner but I'll be roughing it at Waikiki! Aloha for now!


January 17, 2012 by Adam in Family

I think we're all still recovering after the weekend madness.  Joanna's taking today off and I'm busy relaxing at work.  Though there were lots of things I could have done related to the burgulary, I spent most of the time watching kids and relaxing while Joanna worked from home.

We had a light dusting of snow yesterday.  Emma and I tromped out early and made tiny snowpeople and slid down the hill.  I called Emma back in for crepes, and then all the younger kids and I went out to play as long as we could.  Sam eventually stumbled out of bed, looked outside funny, and went to his computer.

The day was pretty low-key.  Emma and Berry at one point created a spa that gave out back rubs.  I got my feet slathered in lotion for a dollar.  Sam and I worked on his game, getting the build buttons to work and our first NPC that wandered around randomly.  Sam was terribly excited.  I helped Duncan with texture packs for Minecraft.  All three little kids watched a little too much Sonic.

As the afternoon rolled around, Jessica came over.  Sam, Emma, and I went hiking in the woods at Hendrick's Park.  I tried to get them with my best riddles, which seemed to go over well.  Eventually we returned home to a dinner of eggs and chips, getting kids to bed, watching some shows, and collapsing to bed ourselves.

School was on today, but rumor has it we'll get a couple inches tonight.  I may be working from home tomorrow.

Long Day

January 15, 2012 by Adam in Family

It's the end of the day, we're getting kids to bed, and I'm pretty beat.

The day started early, feeding kids, and heading to Florence to talk to detectives and get our things.  We were met by a very nice officer who led us into the back to sort through all our things.  There was a pile of security outfits that we immediately declared wasn't ours, along with some big metal cutters.  What was ours, however, was an awful lot of computers, jewelry, and Joanna's guitar.

We didn't find the most valuable jewelry, though.  There were some loose stones that had been pried out of the rings, likely to sell the metal.  At this point, our hope is that we can identify who they sold it too.  I'm hopeful we'll know on Monday, as Lane County is required to identify the people selling their stuff.

We took a break for lunch and then went back to the police station to talk to the Eugene detectives.  They'd come out to fetch the suspects, who were evidently implicated in multiple other crimes.  There was lots of paperwork, pictures, and some questions about how the Prey software worked.

We made it home with tired kids.  I started the forensics on the computers and discovered the break-in was around 9 a.m., they turned on the computers again at 3:30 p.m. until 4:45 p.m., and turned them on at the motel at 9 p.m.  Jamie came over to pick up Sam's computer.  Jamie talked to her parole officer friend who thought the suspects would talk and try to cut a deal.  That would be nice, as at this point we just want to recover the jewelry.

I'm hoping tomorrow is more low-key.  We're reviewing security procedures and likely installing cameras.  Sam's coming over and rumor has it there will be snow the next few days.  Could be fun.

Revenge of the Nerds

January 14, 2012 by Adam in Family

Last afternoon, I got a call from Jamie, asking if Sam's computer had been moved.  She was picking it up for him from our house and couldn't find it.  One of the odd things she mentioned was that the door to the garage was propped open with a pillow.  It sounded like a break-in, so I drove home immediately.

Sure enough, our house had been ransacked in an organized fashion.  Four laptops, two netbooks, all the jewelry, Joanna's guitar, and a few other things were taken.  I knew Sam's laptop had Prey installed, tracking software that phones home and says where the laptop is.  Jamie got Sam out of school early, we logged into his account, and then we waited.

Joanna came home, the police arrived, and Jamie helped keep an eye on Emma as we scurried around changing passwords and taking an inventory of what was stolen.  I turned on Prey, but got nothing.  Eventually, everyone cleared out.  I took Emma to get her prescription cough syrup at Rite Aide, picked up dinner at Tasty Thai, and got the kids to bed.

Joanna and I moped about and watched an episode of Doc Martin.  I'd been checking Prey to see if the laptop had been turned on, but it wasn't until afterward that they finally did.  The webcam picture was terrible, but the IP address located them in Florence and the wifi data gave us the name of the hotel.

I called the Eugene police, who told us to call the Florence police.  They were super and drove out to the motel to take a look.  We got a call back that they had the name of two suspects in a truck that just checked in from Springfield, but they'd just left.  All this time we kept checking Prey and only had the one report.  Eventually we got to bed, wondering what would happen next.

We were woken up at 1:30 a.m., asking us to describe the laptops that I think were in the truck.  One was a Dell that wasn't ours, but the unique Alienware computer was definately Sam's.  They called back later when they were going through the room, and started describing all sorts of things, including some we hadn't realized was taken.  The one thing they couldn't find right then were the more valuable rings, some from Joanna's family and some from mine.

The plan is to eat breakfast, make brownies for the police, and drive over to Florence to recover our stuff.  With luck we can find the rings, either there or at a pawn shop with a shady reputation that was mentioned.

It's a good day to be a nerd.

Delicious Mocha Friday

January 13, 2012 by Adam in Family

I'm almost finished with my delicious mocha, my second in two days (yesterday was a "Just Because I Want To" Mocha).  I'm strangely excited for work today, perhaps in part because a three day weekend awaits me.  I'm looking forward to hanging out with kids and getting ready for Joanna's birthday party.  Yesterday I picked up the last two adjacent tickets to a show that looks particularly awesome.  Not to freak out Joanna (who will certainly read this), but there was a note on the ticket booth explaining how the costumes were inspired by Steampunk and what that means.  I had to hide my glee.

The week continues to be quiet.  Sam, Joanna, and I are on a How I Met Your Mother kick.  I picked up Emma from her mom's house and fixed Emma's computer while I was there.  She's still a bit sick, but hopefully on the mend.  Last night we had breakfast for dinner, which was as delicious as it sounds.

Sam's off tonight and tomorrow.  Joanna is indulging at the spa for three hours in the late afternoon.  I plan on getting the kids to help prepare from Joanna presents and maybe the girls and I can all make dinner together.  I taught Berry how to make crepes the other day and she's been really wanting to do it again.

All the wedding stuff is getting really exciting.  We take a tour next week.  I booked the hotel for the evening.  The tentative plan is that we sneak away that night and return for breakfast.  Seraph - perhaps you can spend the night and supply Isa for Emma's entertainment?  We'll have a familiar babysitter for Duncan and Berry, though you may need to wrangle kids slightly in the morning.  Anyway, lots to sort out, but it's all fun stuff.

Quiet Week

January 11, 2012 by Adam in Family

It's been a low-key week so far.

I had a text exchange with Emma this morning.  Evidently she's still sick, though continues to go to school.  Sam managed to get paint on his new hoodie in painting class, though a bit of work got it out just fine.  Joanna's ankle continues to ache, though it's slowly on the mend after assorted PT visits and lidocane patches.  Duncan and Berry continue to be their usual, (mostly) cheerful selves.  This morning Berry wouldn't eat her crepe until it was made more perfectly round.

Sam has a choir performance happening later this month.  A three-day weekend is coming up.  Joanna and I continue to juggle our finances and try to figure out how to afford a wedding.  In any case, I think we have Mount Pisgah on June 20th nailed down and it should be reserved after we plunk down some cash.

And that concludes my stream-of-consciousness update for the morning.

Back to normal?

January 09, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

We had a busy weekend that left us all exhausted.  Last Thursday I had my first subbing gig at Dixon Elementary.  I was filling in in the 3/4 grade class and had a blast!  The fun carried over into Friday when the school had their first ski trip of the season (there will be 4 trips in all).  I drove Isabell up to Sipapu, where we met up with the school bus (Robbie came up on the bus).  The first visit is always chaotic, and this was no exception!  After an hour or so, everyone finally had skiies, tickets, and lessons set up.  Once all the kids were off, I took Chester (the new puppy) for a hike.  She had a great time tromping through the snow and getting loved by all the guests.

After the ski trip Isabell's friend Gennys stayed over, and they played all day on Saturday, while Robbie and I made a dump run and constructed Chester's new kennel.  By the end of the day we were happy but tired out!  Unfortunately we did not get much sleep that night because Chester was barking and whinning outside.  I'm amazed none of the neighbors complained!  In the morning I got up early and took both dogs for a walk so Robbie could sleep in.  Several cups of coffee didn't help much.  We set out to take down and store all the Christmas decorations.  We were all so tired and grumpy, and there were more than one tear shed and voice raised.

Things settled down in the evening.  We all watched the show Sherlock then headed to bed.  Thankfully the puppy did much better (I think she liked her new dog bed) and we all slept better.  This mroning was rough, and Isabell ended up staying home tired/sick.  Now there's chili on the stove and cornbread ready for the oven.  I'm hoping it will be a calm relaxing evening. 

Another Quiet Weekend

January 09, 2012 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work after a low-key weekend.  Emma was pretty sick all weekend, and so we mostly hung out at home and took it easy.  There were highlights, such as playing charades with Sadie over the webcam, watching Joanna gleefully fill eggs with soil and seeds, and our traditional pizza and Mythbusters.  Last night I went down to check on a crying Berry, who had to explain her bad dream about apples and her Nintendo DS that I didn't follow.  Of course, this interrupted my dream where I was Batman fighting dinosaurs, so I couldn't exactly complain about her weird dreams.

We had a somewhat productive weekend, especially with regards to taking down all the Christmas decorations.  We had a lot, so it took most of the day.  Emma also went to pick up some new fish at the store, and we returned with five neon tetras and a ghost shrimp (named Casper).  Sam and I put some work into coding his game, and we got to the point where he could click a button and drop rocks down on the map.  While it doesn't sound impressive, it was an epic journey of math and research to get there.

We dropped off the kids to school today, including a somewhat sick Emma.  She still has a cough, though she seems on the mend.  Hopefully she can get through the day.

Batman (and Catwoman)

January 08, 2012 by Adam in Adam's Games

I finished up Batman: Arkham Asylum a month or so ago, and recently finished the sequel Arkham City.  I think it's one of my top games of the year, which seems odd as the "fighting game" genre really isn't my favorite.  I think it's because it's loaded with all manner of other gameplay elements, from stealth to detective work to puzzle solving.  The characters are traditional over-the-top DC comics characters.  Roaming through Arkham City under the light of the full moon really makes one feel like the Dark Knight.

Plus you can play as Catwoman occasionally, and she's fun to look at.

Mocha Friday

January 06, 2012 by Adam in Family

It's Friday morning, my mocha at my side and a long to-do list awaiting my attention.  The last few days have been relatively uneventful, if busy.  Emma's still sick and staying home from school.  I'll see her tomorrow morning.  Sam's had homework in the evenings, and then we'll settle in to watch a show or two before bed.

For the most part, Duncan and Berry have adjusted to life at home again.  Duncan had a moment of sadness before dinner last night, talking about all the normal stuff kids of divorced parents do - why can't he spend half his time with his dad, why is he so far away, why aren't his parents together.  I think Joanna handled it fairly well, reassuring him as best she could.  It sounds like Kevin may move to Oregon late this year, and perhaps more frequent visits will get easier.

Duncan and Berry did watch Star Wars over the break, and have suddenly become enamored with it.  The other day, Berry was asking Jessica how to spell lightsaber, and Duncan has been reading through the various Star Wars books at his school.  Berry did wake me up the other night to tell me her dream about guns with great excitement, which was a little odd.  I still remember how Sam seemed a cute and peaceful boy until he watched Star Wars.  Then it was all about chopping off limbs with lightsabers and blowing up Death Stars.  Ah, how quickly innocence fades.

Joanna and I are going out to Off the Waffle tonight, going over the various plans of the year.  The summer may end up being fairly exciting, what with weddings and trips and such.  If we have time, we might go listen to music at the library, plus I can pick up the next Pendragon book for Sam.

I'm looking forward to some hang out time with everyone.  I miss my vacation already.

Back to Work

January 04, 2012 by Adam in Family

I'm back to work after a lovely five days away.  For much of the time it was just Sam, Emma, and I after Joanna went off to pick up the kids.  Emma started to get a cough, and Sam isn't quite better from his, so we generally took it easy.  It was admittedly quite nice and relaxing and quiet, if a little lonely.  Emma missed Duncan and Berry quite a bit.

Joanna arrived last night, exhausted, with Berry and Duncan in tow.  Emma and I had gone to Toys R Us and she picked up some Moshi Monster figures to share with them.  Emma put together a little snack/treat bag, we headed to the airport, and scooped them up.  The rest of the night was a whirlwind of dinner, opening Santa presents, and getting everyone to bed.

Today I took a sick Emma to Jamie's to recover.  Evidently she watched a lot of School House Rock.  I got Sam out of school early to get his teeth cleaned.  Mom - all of his teachers loved his Stormtrooper t-shirt.  Good job.

I'm looking forward to life settling down again after the holiday excitement.


January 02, 2012 by Seraph in Cortez

We made it home sfae and sound.  Robbie is off to a training this morning and Isabell is sleeping in.  I'm now catching up on a weeks worth of ignored e-mails and work projects.

We had so much fun visiting with everyone this vacation!  I can't wait to see you all this summer!

So Martha Stewart

January 01, 2012 by Adam in Adam's Projects

We picked up this funny ceramic egg in San Francisco's Conservatory of Flowers.  You crack it open, add seeds, and plants grow out of it.  Emma loved it.

I liked the idea so much that I made my own.  I took carefully cracked eggs, some soil we had laying around, put it in an egg carton, added chive seeds, labeled them, and set them in the window sill.  Now I'm excited to see them sprout.

Happy New Year

January 01, 2012 by Adam in Family

It's the first of the year, and it's quiet.  Joanna is off in Rochester to fetch Duncan and Berry, and Sam and Emma are sleeping away.  I let Emma stay up "until midnight" (east coast time), and she conked right out when I put her to bed.  As for me, I evidently don't sleep very well with Joanna away.  For some reason I woke up around 4:30 a.m. and have been playing Batman: Arkham City, ridding the world of crime.

The last few days were pleasant and uneventful.  Joanna and I went to the Granary, ate wonderful pizza, and listened to this great singer.  Thursday we stayed home and made mushroom soup.  I took Friday off work and the kids and we hung out with Seraph, Robbie, Isa, Jenny, and Jordan.  Yesterday morning I woke up at 3:30 a.m. with Joanna to get her ready for her trip.  I puttered around with the kids, got Isa and Emma playing, and ended the year at Jenny's house where everyone played Just Dance.

The next couple days are pretty quiet until Joanna returns and work/school starts again.  Sam wants to focus on his new game project, a Java-based 2D building RPG.  I'm going to make him do as much programming as I can manage.  I suspect Emma just wants to watch Futurama.  I'm going to get both of them doing something physical along the way, and maybe hit up the library.

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