Mocha Friday

August 30, 2014 by Adam in Family

It's the end of the day for this work-filled mocha Friday.  It was pretty much non-stop work for me, while Joanna stayed home with all the kids.  Jamie picked up Sam and Emma for a little while.  I think we get Sam later in the day.

Yesterday afternoon we managed to track down the new Japanese teacher at South.  It looks like Honoka will be a TA in one of the classes - possibly Sam's.  Sam's a little light on classes, so he might see if there's an interesting elective in one of his free periods.

The rest of the day was pretty quiet.  Emma and I went swimming while Honoka threw marbles for us to find and squirted Emma.  Eventually I whipped up dinner and Honoka and I picked up Joanna and the kids from the airport.  They were happy to be home, though very tired.

We somehow managed to feed crepes to all five kids this morning.  There was a study in contrasts, with Honoka neatly eating her food without a crumb.  Duncan was next to her, shoveling in his crepe with a smile on his face.  Ah, the joys of cultural differences.

Honoka, Emma, Duncan, and Berry all went swimming this morning.  Later Honoka accompanied Joanna and the little kids to cheese park. 

I'm glad it's a three day weekend.  Should be fun.

Getting Ready for School

August 28, 2014 by Adam in Family

It's been a very full couple days, getting Honoka slowly adjusted to life in the Miller-Bartlett-Gustina household.  After lunch we were all in the basement, Sam and Emma engaging in crazy swordfighting.  Soon enough Honoka's eyes began to close and I tucked her in Berry's bed before she completely collapsed.  Kate came and played with Emma for a few hours - I briefly joined them in the pool, which was quite warm.  I woke Honoka up in time for a typical meal of hamburgers, corn, and chips.  She seemed to enjoy it, despite the messiness.  Sam cooked the burgers on the grill, which was great.  Both kids have been very helpful lately.

After dinner my mom came to visit.  We puttered around until Honoka grew tired again and went off to bed early.  Emma went to bed too.  Sam played video games with friends.  I texted Joanna and played on the computer until it was time for bed as well.

This morning Honoka helped make crepes for everyone, which was great.  I made her a caffĂ© latte for her troubles, which she seemed to enjoy.  Emma wanted to burn things after breakfast, so they broke out the magnifying glass and set things on fire while I watered plants.  Later we played Forbidden Island (and lost) and Lego Creationary (and had a great time).  Sam in particular really got into Legos again.  Eventually the rest of us got worn out.

We're off to school to drop off paperwork and talk to the new Japanese teacher.  Honoka may end up being a teacher's assistant, with the possibility of helping Sam in his Japanese class.  There's still a lot to do to get ready for school, but we're slowly getting there.

Joanna, Duncan, and Berry are busy flying across the country today.  They're seasoned travelers by now.  I can't wait to see them all, and they're excited to meet Honoka themselves.


August 28, 2014 by Sue in Wielesek

Wanted to say a bit more about  the trip. Jenny, Jeannie, and Jordan went on a bear watching tour, and a whale watching tour as well as an excursion to see sled dogs and play with puppies. Dez, Sam and I took a helicopter to the top of the Mendenhall Glacier and went on a high lakes canoe trip, took a trip to totem village and the boys visited a glassblowing studio and made ornaments.
Both boys had fun, I think. Every evening they joined a gang of kids and hung out 'til the wee hours, but got up cheerfully the next morning for the day's activities.
So it's home for me! Hugs from Mom

Honoka is Here

August 27, 2014 by Adam in Family

Sam, Emma, and I picked up Honoka at the airport yesterday.  She was very quiet and pretty overwhelmed by everything.  Fortunately Sam and Emma took her down to the basement and played games like "throw the baby in a circle", key to American culture.  Right now Sam and Emma are fencing for her amusement.

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed.  She's not registered for classes and there's a bunch of things to do yet.  Still, her room is set up and she seemed to sleep okay last night.

This morning we walked to South Eugene to try and get her registered for classes and such.  Sam also has a light schedule that I'd like to try and correct.  We went food shopping and ate lunch.  There's nothing we need to do for the rest of the day except hang out, maybe swim, and make burgers for dinner.  I think we might try swimming later too.  It's hot.

Home again, again

August 27, 2014 by Sue in Wielesek

It's been a busy happy summer. I'm home again from the Alaska cruise. I've just handed over the baby car to Dez to take his girlfriend Peighton to the Oregon State Fair. I think he and Peighton went to the State Fair with her family on their first "date" and he wanted to take her there while it's on this year.
We had a wonderful time on the cruise to Alaska. Somehow we avoided the rain on all our stops. All six of us went on the White Pass train ride in Skagway, which is really impressive. Alaska is a lot like Oregon but bigger, higher and colder. The train was built to carry would be gold miners to the Yukon Territory during the Gold Rush. I really enjoyed the Alaska history - from the First People totem poles and exhibits to the early boom towns. We visited Ketikan, Juneau, and Skagway in Alaska and Victoria on the way back.
Have to go to a meeting. Mo' later, Moe (an Aunt Barney humor)!

Back to School

August 27, 2014 by Seraph in Cortez

We've been back in school for two weeks now. Robbie's loving his new school and has a great group of kids. Isa is doing great, settling in to 8th grade, and enjoying seeing all her friends again.
I've been working to get the wine bar open. We finally got our permit and started construction on Monday. I've been designing menus, ordering glasses and making endless to do lists.
Life is is busy and good.

Work-filled Weekend

August 25, 2014 by Adam in Family

I'm about ready to head into work, which will probably be more relaxing in some ways compared to the last couple days.  I was completely family free starting Saturday morning, so I've been doing endless house projects and getting everything ready for the horde of children that will soon arrive.

Emma left with her mom to Portland after a tasty waffle breakfast.  I started painting the front porch - moving everything, power washing, and painting like a maniac.  Sam called in the middle, having just returned from his Alaska cruise.  I got the impression that he spent his days exploring the glaciers and towns of Alaska and Canada, and the nights hanging out with a pack of teenagers.  It sounds like quite the experience.

I made the porch beautiful, did a shopping/errand run, and then returned to work away at my long list of projects.  Joanna and I chatted over our phones, which was a nice treat.  I keep finding little notes from her hidden around the house.  The evening wrapped up with a little video games and television, coupled with cider and a rice and vegetable dish I whipped up.

Sunday was more of the same.  The big project of the day was getting Emma's room cleaned, with the aquarium being the bulk of the work.  I took out all the fish, plants, and water, cleaned the muck from the rocks, and put it back together.  I ended up replacing the light and upper part too, and moving it to the table Yayoe gave us.  It fits perfectly in the corner.

I get the kids either tonight or tomorrow.  Honoka arrives in the afternoon.  Life will get busy soon.  Can't wait.


August 25, 2014 by Adam in Adam

This is from a birthday party from long ago.  I think I was about 30 at the time.  It's a little long, but there are some funny parts sprinkled here and there.  It's funny how young I look.  I remember how awesome I thought those pants were.

Mocha Friday

August 22, 2014 by Adam in Family

My mocha is long gone, but the perkiness remains.  I took Emma to her annual checkup yesterday - she got shots and was generally poked and prodded. We've been watching her weight over the last few years - the numbers are improving, especially as she's taller than 95% of kids her age.  Her doctor encouraged her to continue the obsessive treadmilling.

She and I hung out after work, watching Sea of Monsters and making tofu rice.  I got to hear about all the differences between it and the book, and how far superior the book was.  Emma is coming back tonight for some more hang out time before she goes up to Portland with Jamie.

I keep hearing from Joanna, who does a great job keeping in touch despite the difference.  I keep finding little notes she's hidden for me to find, and get regular updates via text messages.  She got to see Duncan and Berry yesterday, which was great.  I miss those kiddos.

I've been getting ready for Honoka's arrival.  She'll be here in a few more days and we'll see her at the airport, sign in hand.  I did a little cleaning of her room and need to make keys for her.  Otherwise, all is well there.

Jamie and I have talked about some changes to Sam's schedule.  He'll be going to Jamie's after school Monday through Wednesday and coming home after dinner.  I think he'll generally be spending the night at my house too, unless there are weekend things they set up before hand.  Hopefully that works better for everyone.

I have a couple quiet days this weekend and have some big house plans.  I think I'll try to get a bunch of washing/painting done, which hasn't happened in many years.  It's a rare treat to have a brief opportunity to take care of things.

Back to work.  Trying to fix broken things yet again.

Best Crab

August 19, 2014 by Adam in Family

Okay, some news of Sam and the family is starting to sneak out.  It sounds like they're having a good time in Alaska, staying somewhat warm and eating great crab.

Joanna is getting ready for her trip to Rochester tomorrow at the crack of dawn.  The next couple days will be pretty quiet, though I'm taking Emma to her doctor appointment this Thursday.  Friday night Emma and might watch Sea of Monsters, though she's worried it might suck.  I have lots of things on my "to do" list, getting ready for the arrival of all the kids and start of school.

Off to Alaska

August 19, 2014 by Adam in Sam

Sam is on his trip to Alaska.  I haven't heard anything about how it's going at all.  Jenny sent a photo of Jordan hugging a totem pole in Ketchikan.  My mom sent this along.  I think this is from their stateroom.  Hard to say.

Quiet Weekend

August 18, 2014 by Adam in Family

It was a pleasant, quiet weekend with our only child Emma.  She was here Friday all day as Jamie was out of town.  She and Joanna visited me at work, with Emma somehow charming the woman at the front desk to the point where I was sent home with a mystery package.  It had all sorts of odds and ends from the office, including a bracelet made of rubber bands and paper clips.  Quite impressive.

Saturday we went to the library to load up on books while Joanna went to the market.  Emma convinced us all to get into the pool in the afternoon.  It was quite chilly, but warmed up after a little while.  We ended up playing "Piggie in the Middle," the English version of Monkey in the Middle.  It was surprisingly good fun.  For dinner we had Tasty Thai, which Emma managed to eat for every meal the following day.

Sunday morning Emma used her Awesome Points prize to go to the bookstore, get a book, and have hot chocolate.  She returned with another Rick Riordan book, though one she'd already read before.  Everyone came home for lunch and we had a low-key day of swimming, gardening, and puttering around.  Emma spent hours on the treadmill.  I made a picture frame out of my old tablet, which is now showing random pictures in the kitchen.  Joanna continued to knit awesome things.

It's a weird week.  Joanna leaves Wednesday.  I see Emma for a little on Thursday and Friday night.  Emma, Sam, and Jamie go to Portland on Saturday.  I've got a couple days to get ready for Honoka on Tuesday.  Everyone is at home on Thursday.  School is the following Wednesday.  Exciting times.

For ALS!

August 16, 2014 by Adam in Adam

Joanna informs me that all the hip people are dunking themselves in cold water for ALS awareness.  I'm not sure if this is really for a good cause, but Emma lured me into the pool and Joanna filmed me for her own amusement.

Yayoe's Visit

August 15, 2014 by Adam in Cortez

Yayoe asked me to post a couple pictures of her trip.  Here's a brief update:

This is the living room of the Cortez home in Chimayo. The house is
beautiful and reflects the Santa Fe style of architecture. Everyone is
thriving and looks great. Had a wonderful time staying with Hanni and
taking scenic tours with the family. Santa Fe is beautiful. I can see
why they live there and why they love their community.

Virtual Reality Mocha Friday

August 15, 2014 by Adam in Family

I ordered some pre-made Google Cardboard virtual reality goggle thing through a company called Dodo.  It arrived yesterday and immediately everyone wanted to play with it.  Basically you stick your phone in this thing and it provides a 3D view that moves when you move your head.  It's clunky in a lot of ways (I'm still waiting for the Oculus Rift), but it really shows the promise of VR.  The kids hogged it immediately, taking tours of strange locations and watching 3D, 360 degree movies.  Maybe I can play with it some this weekend.

Sam departs for Alaska today.  We have him packed with his passport and tons of permission papers.  Hopefully he has a great time.

Emma loves not having a cast and is excited to go swimming this weekend.  I think she's feeling a little lonely with everyone about to depart.  Soon she'll have more siblings than she knows what to do with.

I'm off to work shortly to enjoy my weekly mocha.  Work is interesting and fun, as always.  Looking forward to returning home, though.

Back to Work

August 14, 2014 by Adam in Family

Work has been non-stop email this morning, the usual consequences of a few days off work.  I think it's mostly under control.

Joanna and I had a great last day on the McKenzie.  We drove up to Sahalie Falls and hiked along the raging river.  It was a little chilly but generally dry.  After eating the last of the leftover pizza, we wistfully returned home.

We shopped at the pool supply store and garden store, then worked away in the backyard all afternoon.  Honoka's room is getting close to finished.  Joanna pH balanced the pool and amended all our garden beds.  I did battle with the morning glory, which always wants to take over our garden.  Eventually we gave up in exhaustion and ate dinner.

Tonight Sam and Emma arrive.  Sam needs to pack for his trip to Alaska - I won't see him for a week and a half, which is weird.  Emma, Joanna, and I will likely have a quiet weekend of library trips, swimming, and bike riding.  In just a couple weeks, we'll go from one kid up to five.  Should be exciting.


August 14, 2014 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy birthday Jordan! Welcome to the big time. Make sure you learn all the secret handshakes :)

McKenzie River Adventures

August 12, 2014 by Adam in Family

We drove to our cabin in McKenzie Bridge yesterday afternoon. It ended up being much cuter than I expected, with a great enclosed porch overlooking the river. Joanna whipped up a tasty dinner and we went for a walk along the highway to a little park at dusk. It's pretty quiet around here, maybe because it's the middle of the week.

In the morning I got up to make coffee and eat bagels, soon joined be Joanna who was chatting on the phone with Duncan. We told him stories about when he was younger, to his amusement. After breakfast we headed out on bikes to the McKenzie River trail. It was great fun, something we hadn't done in a long while. More importantly, we avoided falling off our bikes into the river, even after the thunderstorm started. Eventually we turned back and made it home, tired, wet, and happy.

We ate lunch at a nearby fine and bought weird things at the general store. Next was Belknap Hot Springs, where we soaked in the hot pool. After we achieved the desired amount of happy tiredness, we crossed a little bridge and discovered these amazing paths through the forest. Most amazing was this secret garden behind this wall, an incredible thing of pools, flowers, and columns.

We finally made it back to the cabin and have been suitably hanging out. The only noise is the river and occasional screams of rafters going down the rapids.

A Cast Removed

August 12, 2014 by Adam in Emma

Emma's cast came off today. Apparently the stench was horrible, but it felt so good to move her hand again. It's not totally healed yet so she has to wear a splint for three more weeks. Next weekend I'm hoping she can go swimming in our new pool and maybe ride her bike again.

Mocha Monday

August 11, 2014 by Adam in Family

I'm not working today, which is wonderfully lazy.  Since I got paged a couple times over the weekend, I feel like I deserve a little R&R. 

We've had a good weekend overall, hanging out with kids and getting things done.  Saturday we went with Emma to the library to stock up on books and hit Saturday Market.  We saw Guardians of the Galaxy in the afternoon and finished up with Pizza and Mythbusters.

Sunday we went our separate ways, with Joanna going to church and putting on a concert.  My mom took Emma to get school supplies and I went to the hardware store to get more things for Honoka's room.  The kids and I played D&D, building that special nerd comradery.  Eventually we came together to finish setting up the pool.  Emma really wanted to try it out, but she has to wait until her cast comes off tomorrow.

Joanna and I leave for our trip this afternoon, with the kids returning to Jamie's house.  I'm hoping the kids and I can hang out a little together.  Already Emma and I wrestled in the basement until I gave up in exhaustion.  She's getting really strong.


August 10, 2014 by Seraph in Cortez

We've really enjoyed having Yayoe here. we've dragged her all over Sante Fe and Chimayo, and tomorrow we're off to Los Alamos. Here's a picture of us at the Cathedral in Santa Fe.

Mocha Friday

August 08, 2014 by Adam in Family

I finally got my mocha after a morning of crises at work and my annual review (which went well).  The mocha was delicious, fortunately, just adding to the generally good day.  No idea if I'm going to end up with a pay raise this year, but at least my boss likes me.

The last few days have been pretty low-key.  Wednesday night Joanna and I went to a song circle, like we did in years past.  We sang a lot of songs from musicals, and classics from decades past.  Though work wore me out, eating Pegasus pizza, drinking cider, and then singing "16 Tons" was a great way to wrap up the day.

Sam and Emma were over last night.  Joanna made tasty curry.  Sam lured me into playing video games with him.  I read Emma books about castles.  Joanna entertained us all by setting non-dairy creamer on fire.  It was a good night.

We still have a bunch of things to do to prepare for Honoka's arrival.  Joanna bought a dresser, which we moved into her room.  There are curtains to hem, drawer liners to install, and other miscellaneous things to take care of.  It should be a cute little room where she can escape to if the rest of us get too loud.

Hopefully we can see Guardians of the Galaxy this weekend.  I have a couple computers to fix.  Maybe we can get some good hang-out time in there too.

Welcome Honoka

August 06, 2014 by Adam in Family

Well, it looks like we'll be having another kid in our big, extended family.  Honoka, a Japanese exchange student, is starting to get tickets and arrange travel plans.  Now that it's an increasing certainty, we have a backyard cottage to make beautiful, grandparents to enlist in help, and new schedules to make for the school year.  We sent her a link to this website, and she didn't run screaming, so that's a good sign.  It's all very exciting.

The week has been relatively quiet.  Sam and Emma went to their mom's house, though Sam is back for the day while Jamie works and Emma plays with Kate.  Joanna's friends left yesterday afternoon, with her singing group arriving for dinner that night.  I listened in to their occasionally amusing, racy conversations while taking care of dishes, laundry, and the boring parts of life.

I'm looking forward to hanging out with the kids this weekend.  I think it'll be the last quiet one before the excitement of the school year starts.

Level Zero Human

August 04, 2014 by Adam in Sadie & Greg

I was looking through the Curated Simon photostream and found a picture of the onsie I made for him last year.  Let's hope Sadie and Greg start getting that kid on adventures and leveling him up.


August 03, 2014 by Adam in Family

We survived our camping trip.

We left Saturday around noon, stopped in Florence for lunch, and found Rock Creek Campground.  The ranger hadn't heard of many people wandering off into the wilderness, so we rented a spot which we never used, and set off. 

The trail was pretty rough, though a few logs had been placed over muddy creeks by someone (probably not elk).  We went slow, but eventually made our way to a clearing.  Sam scouted ahead looking for something better, communicating over walkie-talkies.  He was gone a good long while, Emma and I snacking and exploring our little clearing.  He said he found a good spot, but after he returned by sliding down a hillside, we decided to stay where we were.  He was battered and exhausted, but it was the most fun he'd had all summer, according to him.

We set up camp, made dinner, watched a movie on our portable electronics, and went to sleep.  The ground was pretty rough, but we managed to get enough hours and woke up a bit after six in the morning.

There was tea and hot chocolate, and a little cereal for me.  We packed up, walked out, and had a real meal in Florence.  Sam was still pretty wiped out and napped in the car.  When we got home, I demanded baths or showers for everyone.  I eventually unpacked everything, and the kids helped me work on our back cottage for Honoka.  There were lots of things to rearrange and clean out.  Now I'm exhausted.

Tonight we have pizza and Mythbusters.  Joanna returns with her friends John and Regina.  We have a few exciting nights this week, a fairly normal weekend after that, and then it's Sam to Alaska, Joanna to Rochester, and hopefully a Japanese exchange student somewhere around there.

Never a dull moment.


August 02, 2014 by Adam in Adam's Games

I played Monaco with Sam, Josh, and Matt last night.  It was a zany good time.

Mocha Friday

August 01, 2014 by Adam in Family

I'm horribly excited about the weekend.  It hasn't been a bad week by any means - I just have a hard time working when everyone else is hanging out and having an enjoyable summer.  As a consolation prize, it's Mocha Friday, and I have some interesting code to write at work.

We might host a Japanese exchange student this year.  It's part of Joanna's plan to make us all live interesting lives.  At first I was pretty hesitant, but the idea grew on me.  Sam and Emma both seem somewhat enthusiastic as well.  I'm secretly happy that someone would occupy my little shed in the back, and feel the urge to pretty it up.  It's not final, but we're kicking off the process.  She's an 11th grader at South who enjoys doing hair and baking cakes.  Could be interesting.

Tomorrow Joanna and her out-of-town friend John head to the coast to a fair.  I'll be taking Sam and Emma camping in the woods.  I've been stuffing weird things in backpacks for days now.  Hopefully we have enough to eat and survive.

Sam's passport arrived, so he's increasingly ready for his Alaska cruise.  He's starting to get enthusiastic about adventures, including this one.  Now I just need to get some documentation for my mom to have showing he can take him into Canada and on some exciting excursions.

It was nice having Sam and Emma home after a few days away.  They jumped on me when I arrived from work, talking away about their week's excitement.  Joanna made us tasty food and researched Japanese exchange students.  Sam and Emma looked at the backpacks in the basement and got a little goofy.

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