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.

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