Wednesday Already

September 30, 2015 by Adam in Family

It all seems a little frantic these days, helping kids through the challenges of school, soccer practices, and house maintenance.  There's a lot of things going on and a bunch of people to coordinate.

I'm trying to get Sam back on track with his math class, as he's not doing particularly well and doesn't seem motivated.  I emailed the teacher and hopefully sorted things out.  Of course, last night after I picked him up from his mom's we spent the evening working on a Raspberry Pi and reinstalling a fresh install of Linux Debian on it.  It looks like he and his friends are trying to put together a Maker club, mostly working on digital things.  

Berry's soccer practice continues to generally be positive, though apparently they were playing a game she strongly disagreed with.  Our little girl is occasionally mercurial.  Duncan is feeling a little behind with his French vocabulary, so we might start speaking French at the dinner table some evenings.  I suspect we'll amuse Cecilia tremendously.  

Emma is doing well in school and I thanked her for basically staying on top of things without any intervention.  I do appreciate her cheerfulness.

Joanna's cold seems to be lingering still, as is Sam's.  Despite the madness she managed to buy me some chocolate covered espresso beans as a treat.  I do love that woman.

Lost Tooth!

September 28, 2015 by Adam in Emma

Emma lost a tooth yesterday.  It was one of her weird sunken ones that had been bothering her for a while.  I enjoyed writing a letter from the Tooth Fairy, demanding she keep the production up - no matter whose teeth they are - or the consequences would be dire.

Monday Morning, No Apocalypse

September 28, 2015 by Adam in Family

We were all vaguely disappointed there wasn't an apocalypse after the blood moon last night.  We were all down at Vanilla Jill's getting ice cream in honor of Colette's birthday when the eclipse started.  We rushed home, couldn't find the moon, and Joanna took the little kids up the hill to the reservoir where there was a big astronomy party.  Unfortunately parking was insane and I found the moon, so they drove back and spent a few minutes looking at it's fading red glory.  I think they were all a little disappointed that it wasn't huge and dramatic.

We did get some good pictures from the night before when we confusingly thought the eclipse was going to happen.  I managed to get some decent shots through the telescope with my cell phone.

The weekend was pleasant and uneventful.  Joanna and I went out to dinner at the Pizza Research Institute, listening to jazz and enjoying our time away from kids.  Saturday started with waffles and continued with a library trip that afternoon.  I managed to take down the pool with Emma and Cecilia's help, otherwise the day was all very low-key.

That night Joanna went off to an "OBOB for adults" trivia night at Tsunami, coming in second place and returning with wine and tea cups.  First place was a beach weekend with her team, which was all strangers, so I wonder a little if she threw the lightening round question after being tied.  The kids and I enjoyed pizza and Mythbusters.

Sunday was much of the same.  Sam worked on his Iliad essay.  Emma and I watched another Titan's Grave episode.  Cecilia went mushroom picking with strangers in the woods.  Berry played soccer against the toughest team in their league and won.  Duncan made videos of Sam jumping over him in slow motion.  

These are the days I shall remember fondly in my dotage.

Mocha Friday

September 25, 2015 by Adam in Family

I still have a few drops of mocha awaiting me, though it's sadly almost all gone.

Yesterday was exhausting, starting at 5 o'clock and going non-stop until past 10 that night.  I spent 5 or 6 hours on the road, listening to Neuromancer and trying to survive the crazy Portland traffic.  I was headed to Vancouver for meetings, which were somewhat intense and non-stop.  When I arrived we had a quick meal and then Joanna went off to Emma's school's open house.  I picked up Berry from soccer practice and got all the kids through the bedtime routine.  Somewhere in there were two dishwasher loads and three loads of laundry, though I was stumbling around towards the end of the night.

Sam and Joanna have both been fighting mild colds.  I think they're doing okay other than the occasional pain killers.  Joanna did have one really bad day, but I hope she's mostly feeling better.  We have a hot date tonight, which I look forward to.

We have all the kids tonight and through the weekend.  Hopefully we can finish taking down the pool and do some vaguely enriching events.  I realized this morning I was slowly turning into my mother when I felt the need to get the kids doing something to expand their horizons while I had them.

Soccer Girl

September 21, 2015 by Adam in Ben

Berry's been really enjoying soccer.  She decided to do it all on her own (Duncan sadly wasn't able to play on the girl's team).  Joanna has been dutifully taking her out to practice twice a week and the weekend games since school began.

I think she's really enjoying the game itself and it lets her show off a bit of her fierceness in a relatively safe environment.  Her team has been consistently winning, sometimes by quite a bit. Yesterday she brought back the game ball for her exceptional playing.

She came home after a game, ate dinner, and wanted to practice some more.  Sam volunteered, so the two of them went down to the park to kick around the ball, returning at sunset and chatting away.

Sunny Weekend

September 21, 2015 by Adam in Family

It was a quirky weekend, generally good, though with a few unexpected twists.

Friday night Emma decided to spend the night at Jamie's house, which wasn't quite planned, though it turned out okay.  Saturday was Jamie's birthday (and Talk Like a Pirate Day). Sam and Emma went out to brunch and returned around noon on Saturday.

The rest of the crew ate dinner and went to Yogurt Extreme.  Cecelia was amused by all the weird toppings, which apparently are unusual in France. The next morning was Talk Like a Pirate Day, which gave me the perfect excuse to amuse everyone with pirate talk.  I managed to mow the lawn and injure myself with the weed whacker.  The rest of the kids arrived around lunch.

Sam played video games.  Joanna took Duncan and Cecelia to Target.  Emma had Kate over that afternoon and they made D&D characters.  The day wrapped up with pizza and Mythbusters, complete with delicious pizza that Joanna made for us, along with home brewed pear cider.

Sunday was another mix of hanging out and work.  The pool was halfway taken down.  I fixed a chair and broke the downstairs sink.  We all played Dixit, which was heated but generally fun.  

Later I took most everyone to the park, which spawned its own adventure.  Duncan threw a frisbee in a tree.  Sam threw the water bottle up in the tree to try and knock it down, but only succeeded in completely denting the water bottle.  Then a guy came by and tossed his shoe into the tree, which promptly got it stuck.  I ran home, returning with a ladder and fruit picker.  At that point a second shoe was in the tree and Sam had cut his hand on something.  Eventually Sam climbed up and got everything down.  We returned home, a weird mix of elation and defeat.

Mocha Friday

September 18, 2015 by Adam in Family

The week is nicely winding down.  I think the kids continue to settle into school and I'm sleeping a little better in the mornings.  My mocha is newly finished and a day of coding awaits me.

Wednesday night Joanna gracefully went to the South curriculum night with me, a quick dinner at Cafe Yumm and then running around the halls of South Eugene High School.  We only managed to get to Sam's first three classes, but we managed to collect an adjective from each teacher along the way - quiet, brilliant, prince.  His classes are covering quite a bit of material, but he seems enthusiastic about it.  Last night when Joanna went to Charlemagne's curriculum night, Sam read the Iliad to the kids for bedtime.

We had everyone for dinner last night, chatting away about all manner of things.  Afterward Sam and I worked on the linux setup of his Raspberry Pi machine.  We got the GUI issue sorted out and setup remote access.  Sam was excited that he could apply what he's learned in his self-taught class.  Maybe we'll make a server administrator out of that boy.

Berry continues to enjoy school and exhaust herself at soccer.  Her team keeps winning, which probably helps with the enthusiasm.  Duncan is his usual easy-going self.  Emma is getting a pre-teen nihilistic streak and wants to gather her friends together for a D&D session.  Cecelia spent last night strangely grading English papers for the French immersion program.  Joanna works way too hard and is challenged by finding time to do everything. 

I'm hoping the weekend is relatively low-key.  Duncan has a birthday party.  Emma has some school shopping.  Hopefully we can get out and enjoy the weather while it lasts.

Mid-Week Update

September 16, 2015 by Adam in Family

The transition to school is always a little rough, strangely even for me.  I've been getting up at four o'clock, fretting about things for a while before I get back to sleep.

I think all the kids are settling into school.  Sam has quite the homework load - every night this week he's been reading the Iliad and doing Japanese homework.  He strangely has an A+ in the gradebook, as his only assignment was scored 155 out of 100.  Emma has a similar A, this one for bringing in a signed curriculum paper.  Berry continues her soccer practices.  Duncan is figuring out where everything is in his new school.  Cecelia is making an audiobook for her class.  Joanna does her usual mix of ferrying kids about, writing hotel descriptions, going to yoga, and making sure we're all fed.  I'm doing my usual stirring up of trouble at work.

I'm sure we'll all figure it out.

Last Hot Summer Weekend

September 14, 2015 by Adam in Family

We're back to work and school after what's likely the last hot summer weekend.  

Friday night Joanna and I went out to Friendly Street Market to eat quiche and listen to Ukulele music.   My mom took Cecelia and a somewhat grumpy Berry to dinner at Tasty Thai.  We appreciate the sacrifice mom.

Saturday I took Berry, Emma, and Cecelia to the library, with Joanna picking up Berry to take to a series of soccer games while I picked up Sam on the way home.  The afternoon was relatively low-key, as it was too hot to go outside.  I played with kids, did laundry, and fixed the bike rack in the basement.  Eventually the day wound down with pizza and Mythbusters and Duncan getting picked up later that night.

Sunday morning started with dutch babies and a mocha.  While Joanna took Duncan to church, I packed a picnic lunch and took everyone else to hike around Mount Pisgah.  It was surprisingly dry, but we managed to have fun tromping around.  I fortunately brought a first aid kit, and had to use it twice for minor scrapes and splinters.  They ran around with walkie talkies and ended with an epic hide-and-seek session.  

Once returning home, we all crashed out and relaxed for the rest of the day.  I spent a bunch of time with Sam trying to get the Raspberry Pi configured for his linux administration lessons for his computer class.  He had a hard time stopping, especially when we managed to screw up the configuration right before bedtime.

Joanna took Berry to more soccer games, taking Duncan along as well.  They went to listen to Amy Steinberg later in the day, with Berry singing a song alongside her.  I enlisted the remaining crew to help make dinner.  I put off dishes and chatted with Cecelia about teaching and adjusting to life in our quirky family.  Hopefully she settles in okay.

We somehow all got ready for school and work this morning.  Hopefully the week will be a good one.

Back to School

September 14, 2015 by Adam in Duncan

Duncan has finally started his first day of actual school, returning late Saturday from his camping trip.  I think he had a really good time based on the stories he's told so far.  His favorite activities were archery and axe throwing.  They also put on skits for the other groups.  Hopefully his adjustment to the real world goes well.

Mocha Friday

September 11, 2015 by Adam in Family

Oh man do I need this coffee today.  Emma and I were joking at breakfast and made up Mochia, goddess of caffeine.  On the end of this first school week, I give tribute to the divinity that is cafe mocha.

We're still adjusting to the start of school.  Everything feels busier, from getting lunches made in the morning to doing homework every night.  Sam has a fairly significant workload schedule with his AP European History and Precalculus.  I think he's going to try and do something with the Raspberry Pi and Linux for his computer class.  Emma is taking the usual required classes, plus band and art.  This weekend she has a project involving fingerprinting - hopefully she doesn't blackmail us by threatening to send our prints to the FBI.

Berry had a hard time getting to school yesterday, but seems a little more enthusiastic today.  She misses Duncan, who is off having adventures.  Berry's also been off at soccer practice, returning home last night completely exhausted.  This weekend she has her first games in a non-stop jamboree.

Cecelia's first day with kids went relatively well.  She's been increasingly chatty the last few days.  Last night Emma and I had a long talk with her about school in our various countries.  I've also tried to explain my big family and how everyone is related, though it seems an impossible task at times.

I haven't gotten to see Joanna as much as during the luxurious summer months.  Last night she made us all "start of school cheesecake."  She's working away writing hotel descriptions for her search engine company.  She also finished up a story on some local musicians for the Register Guard that I really liked.  Tonight we have a hot date, which I look forward to.

It's also 9/11.  I have some vivid memories from 14 years ago, our family going out to pizza after the terrorist attacks.  Life is strange.

Canoe Island Adventures

September 10, 2015 by Adam in Duncan

Duncan continues his Canoe Island adventures.  They're sleeping in tipis and apparently sailing around the islands as well.  I can't wait to hear about his adventures when he gets home.

Off to school

September 09, 2015 by Adam in Family

And they're all off to school.  Sam and Berry have classes today.  Cecelia continues to help set up the classroom at Roosevelt.  Duncan is off at Canoe Island.  Emma has a last day of freedom and starts classes tomorrow.

Canoe Island

September 08, 2015 by Adam in Duncan

Duncan headed off to Canoe Island for his 5th grade trip.  He's been doing fundraisers every year until today, and now it's finally time for him to go.  They're driving up to Washington and taking a ferry over to a tiny island in the San Juans.  Somehow he managed to carry two backpacks full of stuff.  Hopefully he has a great time.

Quick update - they made it to the ferry in time and are on their way to Orca Island. The bus had issues and they ended up leaving late, but apparently made good time on the way up to Washington and didn't miss the 3:30 p.m. ferry.

Planetary Annihilation

September 08, 2015 by Adam in Adam's Games

Long ago I kickstarted a game that was loosely planned as a fairly standard RTS, but based on several planets in a solar system.  It was okay when I played it a year or two ago.  Sam and I played for a little and then put it away for a long while.  Lately they came out with a new version that has twice as much content and is considerably well polished.  I played a couple games with Sam, losing the first and winning due to an AI killing him early in the game.

Single player is actually not too bad either, though the AI I've been fighting isn't particularly aggressive.  Mostly I enjoy playing with the really big things you can build.  I'm a fan of nuclear missiles, though I've yet to work up to building the asteroid-moving rockets that let you completely obliterate a planet by smashing it to pieces.

Labor Day

September 07, 2015 by Adam in Family

It's been a whirlwind last few days, hanging out with all the returning kids and showing Cecelia a bit of Eugene.  Joanna worked away writing hotel descriptions for a search engine, but somehow managed to make her quote late yesterday.

Saturday morning I took everyone but Sam and Joanna to Saturday market.  Berry bought herself a ring and I picked up some fresh bread, beets, and lettuce.  Eventually we wandered home to hang out.  Sam and I played Planetary Annihilation and later I played Metal Gear Solid 3.  Somewhere in there Berry and Sam built a fort in the basement.  Duncan went swimming with friends.  The day wrapped up with pizza and Mythbusters as usual.

Yesterday morning Joanna took Duncan to go sand boarding with some friends, returning home with stories of getting sand up his nose.  While she went to church, the rest of us rented canoes and kayaks to paddle around the Mill Race by the stadium.  We stayed out for two and a half hours, having quite a bit of fun.  We explored a weird industrial slough for a while, before returning to the main waterway.  The big open pond was my favorite, and we nibbled away at our picnic lunch before returning.  Somewhere in there Berry was transferred to Sam's kayak and we all made it home to collapse.

I want to make sure the kids are generally ready for school.  Other than that, I'm hoping for a day of drones and Frisbee at the park and playing board games.  Here's hoping for the best.

Mocha Friday

September 04, 2015 by Adam in Family

Friday is winding down.  It was a lazy day of hanging out - I never left our property once.

Last night I scooped up Sam and Emma from Jamie's house, along with a couple laptops with problems.  Returning home, we said hello to Cecelia, who seems like a nice young French woman with very good English.  She seems to have settled into her room fairly well and is generally doing her own thing.  She's an avid reader and doesn't like museums much, but that's about all I know.  Most of the afternoon she's been at Roosevelt, getting ready for the coming of the students.

I made everyone a breakfast of dutch babies and then took Emma, Duncan, and Berry to the library.  We discovered this wonderful horror spoof on Calvin and Hobbes titled "There's Corpses Everywhere."  Emma loves it.  The supposedly dead laptop that Emma brought over was resurrected by installing Linux Mint.  Sam also assembled the Raspberry Pi I bought for either his upcoming computer class or my own entertainment - likely both.  At the moment it's waiting for an operating system to be installed.

We generally hung out, playing video games or running around in the back yard.  We didn't do much all that productive, other than the usual endless dishes that I'd almost forgotten after my week of bachelorhood.

Returning Home

September 02, 2015 by Adam in Family

Joanna, Duncan, and Berry are heading home today.  They just left for San Francisco and should be ready for me to pick them up at the airport after dinner.  I'm excited to see them all.

While I didn't finish all the house projects I was hoping to get to, I'm pretty happy with what I've managed.  Berry's computer desk went from mounds of weird toys, art work, and garbage to a neat and tidy area.  All the laundry is done.  I cleaned the guest house.  Duncan and Berry's computers were upgraded to Windows 10.  I think we're generally ready.

We heard that Honoka decided to go to junior collage to become a nutritionist.  She seemed hesitant about college when she was staying with us.  I'd like to think that all our talk of higher education and her great experience in catering may have helped influence her.

Tomorrow Sam, Emma, and Cecelia arrive.  I'm taking Friday off to help with any school preparations and getting kids settled.  Hopefully we can show Cecelia the town a little and introduce her to pizza and Mythbusters.

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