Basement Entertainment

February 27, 2015 by Adam in Adam's Projects

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

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

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

Mocha Friday

February 27, 2015 by Adam in Family

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

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

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

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

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

Mask of the Red Death

February 26, 2015 by Adam in Family

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

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

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

Back to Work

February 23, 2015 by Adam in Family

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

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

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

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

Mocha Friday

February 20, 2015 by Adam in Family

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

Spring Comes Early

February 17, 2015 by Adam in Family

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

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

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

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

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

Valentine's Day

February 15, 2015 by Adam in Family

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

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

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

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

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

Birth Plan [Updated]

February 13, 2015 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

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

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

Sadie Miller and Gregory Caswell’s Birth Plan

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

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

Pain Relief and Induction

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

Second Stage Labor

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


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

Newborn Procedures

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

Valentine's Day Eve

February 13, 2015 by Adam in Family

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

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

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

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

Wednesday Update

February 11, 2015 by Adam in Family

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

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

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

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

Another Lovely Weekend

February 09, 2015 by Adam in Family

I had a great weekend, full of hanging out with kids, playing games, and a few practical measures thrown in for good measure.

Friday night Joanna and I went out, unfortunately discovering that Cosmic Pizza dropped their gluten free crusts.  We ended up going to a vegetarian place instead where I was overcome by my possible food choices.  Instead of going to a stand up comedy show about bad dates, Joanna relayed some of hers from times gone by.

Saturday morning started with a mixup where Honoka texted me after a night spent at South for a catering class.  I thought it was Emma, and ended up picking her up and waking up people at her house.  Eventually I figured it all out and took everyone home. 

There was a mix of practical things - I took out the compost containers that had been piling up, and drilled holes in the floor to run HDMI cables.  Emma and I played some Trine 2, and I played my new sea faring game Sunless Sea.  The little kids went to chess class.  We broke out the paints and painted away.  The evening wrapped up with pizza and Mythbusters, with a delicious quiche for Joanna and I.

Sunday morning Emma was really wanting to play D&D.  We worked on characters and then played with Duncan and Berry in the afternoon.  I think everyone enjoyed it and I suspect we'll play more later.  Unsurprisingly, Berry is quite enthusiastic and a little vicious to boot.

We had family dinner, and Joanna went all out.  There was pumpkin pie and galette de rois.  It was great to see everyone and chat.  Sam dragged Emma and I out early for a walk around the neighborhood through the dark and lightning, followed by a contest to see how many curls we could do.  His knee still hurts, but it's slowly improving, and hopefully we can line up physical therapy this week.

Old Photos

February 06, 2015 by Adam in Lohring

I was digging through old CDs at work and found one full of all these scanned photos from your childhood, dad.  There's some super cute ones of you as a squishy baby on there too.

Mocha Friday

February 06, 2015 by Adam in Family

I just had the last gulp of mocha in between my first email pass and heading to a meeting.  The delicious elixir is bubbling through my veins.

It's been another exciting week.  We got good news about Sam's knee - no surgery, though plenty of physical therapy.  I think he'll keep going to wrestling practice, though he won't be able to wrestle this season.  Emma's been sick all week, though she's going to school today.  Duncan and Berry are their usual Minecraft and Pirate 101 playing selves, with chess club and fiber arts sprinkled in between.  Honoka has a catering sleepover tonight, with midnight volleyball promised.  Joanna joined a writer's group last night, giving it high praise.

As for me, I've been trying to figure out how to pay the doctors and working to keep our Internet site secure.  At home I keep everyone in clean clothes and dishes, while occasionally playing video games.  I had a good time with Sam and Emma, messing around in the basement.  Sam and I had pushup and situp contests - he's getting pretty darn' strong.  I was the only one sore this morning.

We had my dad over for dinner this week - he and Joanna chatted about work things.  It was nice to see him and we chatted away about space and science.

Tonight is a hot date listening to stand up comedy at Cosmic Pizza.  Duncan and Berry are excited to have Brenna babysit.  Sam is at Jamie's tonight, bringing a friend for a sleepover, the first in years.

I bought myself a new television which should arrive next week.  The current one is a seven year-old refurb with fading colors that I will likely banish to the basement. 

And that's about all the excitement I've got for the moment.

Knee Updates

February 06, 2015 by Adam in Sam

We had some mostly good news about Sam's knee today.  The MRI results came back - he dislocated his knee cap, bruised his knee bone, tore some tissue, and damaged the cartilage a little.  Despite all that, the meniscus is fine and he won't need any surgery.  Next step is physical therapy once a week for a couple weeks and then every other week, returning to the doctor in six weeks.

Sam is thinking about dropping rock climbing, as he's not supposed to twist his knee.  He's also not going to be able to wrestle this season, so I'm not sure if he'll keep going to practice.  It might still be a good time to hang out with his friends, watch them wrestle, and do some upper body workouts and physical therapy.

Wednesday Already?

February 04, 2015 by Adam in Family

I'm not quite sure how that happened. 

Jamie reports that she and Emma are both sick.  Sam has been moving around without crutches, though slowly. Duncan and Berry continue their chess homework, and Minecraft in the evenings.  Honoka has been playing pep rallies and occasionally staying up late to do homework.  Sam and I had a boy's movie night and watched Black Hawk Down together.  Joanna taught Fiber Arts and bought herself a couple fiber-combing devices to make a thing out of the wool that sounds like a barbarian name.

And that's what we've been up to.

Lovely Lazy Weekend

February 02, 2015 by Adam in Family

I had a really good weekend.  I'm not sure there was any particular thing that made it great, just lots of little moments that contributed to an overall sense of well-being.  True, Emma was sick, and I had a touch of a headache on Sunday, but they were minor things.

Saturday morning we had all the kids.  I played Trine 2 some more with Emma, making sure we waited until everyone was awake, as we kept cracking each other up.  Eventually we fed people dutch babies and Joanna took the little kids to chess class.  Berry beat another student, so I think she decided it was a good class.  I went over to help my mom with her Internet - basically Comcast's replacement router had a weaker signal than the old one.

Duncan played Minecraft and Sam and I played Europa Universalis IV and conquered the new world.  Joanna, Honoka, and the little kids watched the last Harry Potter movie.  Sam, Emma, and I played Magic in Sam's room.  Berry did science experiments, Emma took it easy, and the day wrapped up with pizza and Mythbusters.  Emma made me watch the Bravest Warriors on YouTube - I'll never be able
to think of the phrase "9000% sexier!" without smiling. 

Sunday was equally pleasant.  My mom took Honoka dress shopping for the spring dance.  Sam, Emma, and I hooked up the big monitor to my computer and played Trine 2.  Later on Sam and Berry played, much to their amusement.  Sam and I played more EU4.  Dinner was tasty.  Emma was feverish and continued to take it easy.

Now I'm back at work, and Emma is staying home, though much improved.  Sam's MRI is tonight, though we won't be able to get the diagnosis until later this week.

Summer Vacation Musings

February 01, 2015 by Adam in Family

Joanna and I have started talking about the beach trip this summer, trying to find the best way to fit everyone into two houses.  I found the rental house on Street View - it looks very nice.  There's a park across the street, it's five blocks from the beach, and eight minutes to dad's house.  I also noticed the Wii, hot tub, and BBQ, all of which will likely be used.

The trick is that it's impossible to fit all the kids (Jenny, Seraph, Sadie, I, and our respective families) all in the same house.  We'll likely have seven people with Honoka.

Dad's House
Honoka, Emma, Berry, Isa - big upstairs room
Seraph and Robbie - bedroom
Joanna and Adam - bedroom
Sam and Duncan - bedroom (or Sam in office)

Mom - bedroom
Yayoe and John - bedroom
Sadie, Greg, and Simon - bedroom
Jenny - bedroom
Dez and Jordan - bunk beds


Honoka, Emma, Berry, Isa - bunk beds
Adam and Joanna - bedroom
Sam and Duncan - bedroom (or Sam on couch)
Robbie and Seraph - bedroom
Jenny and Jordan or Sadie and Greg - bedroom

Dad's house
Everyone else

I suppose we could bring tents and have people sleep outside on the patio, or if they're very adventurous, they could sleep on the beach (which is legal outside of city limits).  That may get old after a night or two, though.

My assumption is that we'll gather at one house or another.  The rental is next to the beach, so it may end up being the best place to hang out.  We could alternate to keep things fresh and lively.

Anyway, just some pre-coffee musings.  I'm certainly open to options.  Regardless, I'm excited to see you all.

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