Massive Mocha Thursday

December 30, 2010 by Adam in Family

I just redeemed my coffee punch card for the biggest mocha they had.  Even better, it was free, which is the most tasty kind of mocha.

It's been an interesting week.  While the kids were off at Jamie's since Tuesday, Sam's been coming home at night.  Tuesday Joanna and I went to the Granary to listen to jazz and eat home made ice cream.  Last night Sam and I had a "boy play night".  We got together with Josh to play Borderlands.  Joanna watched briefly and made a few snarky comments about running around shooting people.  Mostly it was fun listening to Sam laugh hysterically with Josh, as they clearly had a good time.  The evening was topped off with cereal and The Office.

Yesterday was also a day of frantically running around, signing and moving legal papers about.  My lawyer Lynn called this morning and declared that we were officially divorced.  There was an odd moment in Jamie's lawyer's office, entertaining the kids while Jamie signed things.  Emma was a little sad, realizing the finality of it all.  She was clingy in the end, and I had to reassure her that I'd see her the next day.

It's nice to have things finally settled.  Jamie was very helpful getting things sorted out.  I was a little miffed at our lawyers in taking so long, so I got super grumpy with them in order to finalized things as planned.

Dave and Kirsten had Ezra Wednesday night, and Sam and Emma were talking about how it was seeing their new nephew.  Congratulations to both of them.

Tomorrow is the start of a four-day weekend with the kids.  I think we're going to try to go to a movie tomorrow, a library trip, and somewhere in there I need to get my hair cut.  Tonight Joanna and I are going out to dinner at a waffle place, of all things.  I'm hoping for a lot of hang-out time with kids before school starts in earnest.

I finally put together the Christmas video.  The end is the best part, with my dad dancing to It's Raining Men on Just Dance 2.

Post-Christmas Festivities

December 28, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work, dealing with assorted crises before our go-live next month.

The day after Christmas was entirely lazy, with the exception of Sadie's engagement party.  We managed to get four children into the minivan, unleashed them upon the fancy party guests, and ate our way until leaving relatively soon.  The decorations were lovely, mom, and the food was great as always.

Emma loves her Sansa music and video player, and we ordered a custom skin for it.  Her cute cat sticker should arrive soon.

Monday I stayed home with everyone while Joanna went off to work.  I was pretty tired due to Duncan waking up a little after 5 a.m. for the last few days, though espresso perked me up.  Every day is Mocha Day during Christmas vacation.  Sadie and Greg arrived a little after 10 a.m. and we began the endless game playing.  It was lovely, including great boardgames such as: Cosmic Encounter, Last Night on Earth, and Munchkin.  Sadie took the younger kids downstairs to play Just Dance 2, much to their delight.

It was great having them around, not the least for backup parenting as I scrambled to get a bunch of legal stuff done.  Basically if things don't get finalized by the end of the year, there are lots of expensive tax implications.

I took Emma over to Jamie's this morning, and will see her back Thursday afternoon.  I'm not quite sure what Sam's up to, though I think he's going over there as well. He'll be around this Friday when I take the day off, as Jamie's out of town until the following Tuesday.  It'll be nice to have four days off with the kids.  Perhaps we can take in a movie or go to the snow again.

Tonight Joanna and I are going out for the first time in a long while, I think to listen to music somewhere.  A low-key night sounds wonderful.

Magical Ponies

December 25, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's Christmas Day, and everyone is wiped out.  The kids are playing with their respective toys.  Duncan's playing Kirby on the Wii, Sam's playing Dead Rising 2, Emma's watching Glee on her Sansa, and Berry's dressing Polly Pocket dolls.  Joanna and Collette are both lying down, completely exhausted.  I continue to trudge through cleaning and helping kids, slowly but surely.

I was pretty mopey this morning, missing Sam and Emma quite a bit.  It was my first Christmas away from them, which ended up being rougher than I expected.  Duncan woke up at 5 a.m., and we opened stockings while Joanna slept a bit.  Berry was up soon after, looking through her stockings too.  Eventually we moved to Minecraft and Joanna eventually awoke.  Duncan and Berry webcammed with their dad and opened presents.  I made crepes and coffee.

I went over to my mom's this morning for a little while, chatting with Sadie and Seraph on the phone.  I brought back another mass of presents, and soon enough Sam and Emma arrived.  Poor Sam has some sores in his mouth that are causing him trouble eating.  We put on some topical anesthetic and he was able to much on the traditional English Christmas dinner that Joanna had made.

There were crackers full of paper crowns, turkey, brussel sprouts, and Yorkshire pudding.  We stuffed ourselves and started in on the presents.  It's impossible to describe the next hour, only that the kids were overwhelmed and Sam kept saying it was too much.  There are robots, dolls, and assorted clothes laying about.  I ended up with two magical unicorns, much appreciated.

We're off to Jenny's in a little bit.


Mocha Christmas Eve

December 24, 2010 by Adam in Family

Duncan woke up early and I crawled out of bed to let Joanna sleep.  She has a cold today, and ended up sleeping in until nearly nine.  She's napping again.  Hopefully she'll be up and about for Christmas.

I made two batches of crepes, one normal and one gluten free, along with my traditional Friday mocha.  Food was eaten and Minecraft was played.  Berry and Duncan convinced Joanna to play for a fair stretch of time.  I've been trying to indulge in various cleaning frenzies, but have only managed to clean the minivan.  Before the day is done, I have a few presents to wrap and I'd like to try out the new power washer I bought.  I may just stick with the present wrapping.

Sadie and her entourage are coming to hang out tonight to play Cosmic Encounter and chat.  Tomorrow at noon Sam and Emma arrive.  I'm still not sure when I'll be able to do Christmasy things with everyone else.  Tomorrow night for dinner and Jenny's perhaps.

Missing Teeth and Children

December 22, 2010 by Adam in Family

Sam and Emma went off to Portland with their mom this morning.  It hit me a little harder than expected, so I've been moping around this morning.

Emma came with me to the dentist yesterday to watch Sam get his tooth extracted.  He got nitrous as he was a bit nervous, picking the bubblegum scented mask.  The roots got stuck, so there was some rooting about.  Emma kept covering her eyes and wanting to punch out the dentist for hurting Sam.  Sam had his traditional recovery of mashed potatoes and watching The Office all afternoon.  We've been keeping the pain killers up, so he's actually doing pretty good this time around.

Tonight Joanna and I are going out on a hot date to Target.  The rest of the week is work, house projects, and getting ready for Christmas.  Sadie's coming over for a hug tonight, which will be nice.  I'm not sure what's happening Christmas Day, as I just heard Jenny's doing something at her house and I don't know when Sam and Emma return.  Christmas is the season for family obligations and trying to keep kids happy.  Hopefully I can juggle it all.

Snowy Weekend

December 21, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's Tuesday, though I had to think about it a bit.  I'm alone with the kids, the three younger ones playing cheerfully in the basement with Hobbes.  Sam is playing videogames, a brief respite before going to the dentist to get a tooth extracted.  Poor guy.

We had a fun and mostly lazy weekend.  Sam was at Jamie's overnight.  I took the kids to the library while Joanna got her hair cut short.  Pizza and Mythbusters was enjoyed, and I got a new high score while grocery shopping (over $375 in a single trip).  Church on Sunday involved Emma dressing as an angel and Berry and Duncan were cows.  Santa happened after that.

Yesterday was the epic snow trip.  I got chains for the minivan, ran errands, made lunch, and loaded everyone up in the car.  It was strangely quiet due to the in-car entertainment options.  It made for a lovely trip along highway 58, the rain turning into snow.

There were moments of grumpiness (mine, mostly), but once I gave up trying to control a horde of children in the snow, I enjoyed myself immensely.  We ran into a bunch of people with sleds who were extremely nice and let us share.  Snow people and forts were built.  We ate Metropol goodies and drank hot cocoa.  The drive home in the dark was slightly more rowdy, but generally cheerful.  Once we got everyone home, they conked right out, leaving Sam and I to play Worms together.  Joanna was out completely at 8:30.

Spidey Mocha Friday

December 17, 2010 by Adam in Family

Berry decided to wear Duncan's Spiderman hat this morning.  It was hysterical with the pink jacket and shoes.  We left her off at school where she proclaimed she'd wear it all day long.

It was nice having Emma home last night.  She must have been up early this morning, as she was reading her pink book about how to be a glamorous book.  There are already book marks for things she wants to make or do.  Should be an interesting four-day weekend.

Sam made it to school yesterday.  His teacher nicely reported only one question missed on his quiz.  Sam played chess with Jordan, as usual, winning one game and losing another.  He'll be at Jamie's tonight, returning tomorrow before pizza and Mythbusters.

Joanna's getting her hair cut short tomorrow while I take the kids to the library.  As we have four days off, I think we'll manage a mix of work, play, and getting ready for Christmas.  If we can manage it, we might do an OMSI or snow trip on Monday.  Fun, fun.

Back to School

December 16, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's been a bit of an interesting week, with work news and sick kids.  Sam was sick every day but today, and Emma every day but Monday.  I stayed and worked from home yesterday, keeping an eye on everyone when Jamie went to work.  Strangely I accomplished more than a typical day in the office.

Most of our evenings have been low-key, playing Minecraft with Sam, watching Glee and Chuck, and working on laundry.  Last night we took Berry and Duncan to the Little French School for their winter festival.  My video camera batteries were almost dead, but I managed to get a few choice songs.

Back to Work

December 13, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's Monday morning, and likely an important one.  In another hour, I think we're going to get some information as to which jobs are moving to Vancouver.  I'm hopeful, but it's scary nonetheless.

The weekend was the usual mix of wonderful, crazy, and fun.  I had a few grumpy moments, as well as time when I was having insane amounts of fun.  I probably worked too much one of the days, and taking everyone down to the park in the rain eventually ended up being lots of fun (though it took a few catastrophes).

Friday night Joanna and I went out to Moroccan food, complete with belly dancing.  We ended up recognizing the dancer as someone we worked with, though it took awhile.  She rarely balances swords on her head at work.

Saturday was pancake day for everyone but Sam, who was at his mom's.  I took all three kids to the library, where they were quite well behaved, returning home with a massive cache of books.  Sam came home early, as he wanted to build NWN2 modules.  I went to get pizza and groceries for Pizza and Mythbusters night.  Everyone is into playing Minecraft now, myself included, so there were lots of turns being taken.  It's funny hearing Berry say "MinusCraft" when she talks about it.  Emma also did a great job with her homework, getting all her math done and much of her Tansinia project.

Sunday had fairly nice weather, so we spent some time outside working on the yard.  Joanna strung more Christmas lights and I did some yard cleanup and pruning.  Sam got picked up to go to a movie with Chase, but evidently they got kicked out and wandered the mall until returning a couple hours later.  In the afternoon we made our park run in the rain, with people getting very wet but generally having fun running and jumping about.

There was lots of work too - six loads of laundry, an equal number of dishes, and countless meals cooked and served.  Still, I've always known I'm a family guy and I get deep satisfaction watching everyone grow up.


Pirate Mocha Friday

December 10, 2010 by Adam in Family

Emma got to dress up like a pirate today for school, complete with a little bird tied to her shoulder.  I was, of course, deeply envious.  Fortunately it's mocha Friday, so all is well.

Sam and I got some hang out time together last night, watching the last episode of The Walking Dead.  Emma took awhile to go to sleep and kept waking up, but was generally okay with me checking up on her every ten minutes or so.  I also got the Neverwinter Nights 2 toolset working on his computer and he was busy building modules this morning.  I think I'll see if I can help him put a little adventure together.  I miss it, and don't have time to do one of my own, but perhaps I can assist with dialog and scripting.  He's off to Jamie's tonight and possibly tomorrow night.  We'll find a way to continue our pizza and Mythbusters tradition.

I'm excited to hang out with Emma this weekend.  Tomorrow certainly has a library trip involved, and I'd love to go swimming with the kids Saturday night.  There are also Christmas things to prep for and a potluck tomorrow afternoon.  Sam and Emma have been asking to play D&D, and I'm thinking about starting up a new 4th edition campaign for them.  I have an old monitor I can turn on its back to act as a play surface for maps, and they can move their physical characters around on top of them.  We'll see how nerdy I get.

Work has been a little brutal lately, but I've risen to the occasion.  I'm taking care of problems left and right, despite the fact that our Microsoft consultant couldn't handle them.  I did start talking to my naked mole rat.  I'd like to think he was my little helper, assisting when the work became too overwhelming.  My team recommends therapy.

Joanna and I are going out tonight, eating Moroccan food and watching belly dancers.  Emma was excited to hear that while the normal babysitter is unavailable, we were replacing her with another cute, young blond.  The last time we went, a drunk person got arrested on our car.  Hopefully tonight's visit is less exciting.

It's Raining Teeth

December 09, 2010 by Adam in Family

Duncan lost a tooth in the middle of dinner, popping right out while eating spaghetti.  He seemed a little disappointed that he only got a card and a dollar in the morning.  I told him that if he wanted a magic pony too, he had to loose a tooth and an ear.

Sam got his grades last night, lots of A's, some B's, and a single D.  The single D bugs me, as all the report card had was a note that Sam was missing assignments.  This was the class where I met with the teacher and e-mailed him a bunch of times trying to get his assignments, then worked with Sam to get them turned in.  Still, considering Sam missed a bunch of school and seemed despondent the first couple months, he did pretty good.  I'm excited to hear how his new classes are coming along tonight.

Joanna and I went to South Eugene High School to listen to the concert last night.  They were remarkably good for high school students, looking very young and earnest.  We went home a little early and headed to bed.  Joanna's been feeling achey today and my throat has been sore.  Maybe we got what Sam had earlier this week.

Emma's home today, which is terribly exciting.  She gets to dress like a pirate tomorrow.  I'm trying to figure out how I can too.

Christmast Tree Hunt

December 06, 2010 by Adam in Family

This last weekend seemed way too busy, perhaps because of the endless work accomplished over the last 48 hours.  There was laundry, cleaning, shopping, and the rest, as well as a variety of Christmas-related tasks.  Fortunately some of it was terribly fun.  I had a good time getting a Christmas tree and bringing it home.  Sam, Emma, and I helped hang lights outside.  Stockings were hung by the chimney with care, and all that good stuff.

I did manage a couple hours of playing Minecraft, and it was just as entertainingly addictive as Sam said it would be.  After learning to fear the dark, I built a little shelter and mined the depths of the earth.  By the end of the night, I was dressed in iron armor with an iron sword, atop my castle battlements.  I had no need to fear the zombies that prowled the night.

I made crepes both mornings for breakfast, including gluten-free ones for Joanna.  Kids played, Emma did some homework, and we had a family dinner Sunday night.  Joanna wanted duck, so it got cooked up and only Yayoe and Collette made it.  In a way, it was nice to have a smaller crowd, and Yayoe's tofu was devoured by Emma and I.

Now it's back to the normal routine, which sounds fairly relaxing after a somewhat frantic weekend.

Pirate Mocha Friday

December 03, 2010 by Adam in Family

Emma's back, wonderfully entertaining me last night.  She has a Pirate Day at school next week, and was showing off her accent and missing two teeth.  Both were lost this last week

We had a low-key night, eating pasta dinner with Collette, playing the New Super Mario Brothers, and watching Glee when the little kids went to bed.  Sam got to sleep in, as it was the end of the term yesterday and there was no school today.

The plan is to get a tree tomorrow morning, likely after a massive batch of crepes get made.  Sam's going to Jamie's overnight.  Joanna's going to work on homework while I manage a movie night for the kids.  I think she's a little stressed by the sheer volume of work she needs to do this weekend, so I'm doing what I can to make it easier.  I'll be happy if we can put up a Christmas tree and get some decorations up.  Well, that and the usual feeding of chickens, doing laundry, and keeping everyone fed, but I've grown used to it.

My mocha's done.  Time to call our consultant and ask where all his promised work has gone.

Getting My Elf On

November 29, 2010 by Adam in Family

Sunday morning we woke up leisurely, once again without children.  I had promised Joanna a compost sifter, so I wandered down to the basement and quickly put one together.  Soon our mound of decomposing vegetable matter will turn into sweet smelling soil to heap on our raised beds.

Joanna worked away as I puttered and cleaned.  Soon it was time for a quick library trip, and then off to the hospital to begin our volunteer time as an elf.  The outfits were fun, especially the ears.  Soon I was helping Santa, giving out candy and smiling at little kids.  Even though it was surprisingly long, it was hard not to smile at all the kids.  Santa himself was a trooper, barely standing for four hours straight.

At the end of my shift, I dropped off Joanna and picked up the kids.  As promised, I went food shopping in my full elf outfit.  It was fun ordering pizza for Santa.  The evening was a low-key pizza and Mythbusters.  Sam, Joanna, and I watched Chuck after Emma got to bed.  Life is slowly returning to normal.

Duncan and Berry return Tuesday night.  Next weekend sounds like our annual Christmas tree hunt.  I really look forward to Christmas and taking some time off work.


Thanksgiving, Birthdays, Portland, and Back Again

November 28, 2010 by Adam in Family

Joanna and I are alone in the house, a nearly unheard of state to things.  We're back from Portland, happy and tired.  Joanna whipped up a tasty soup and cut up some gluten-free bread from a bakery we found.  Now she's working away while I post and ponder refinishing furniture.

Thanksgiving was great fun.  Sam and Emma were around and we had a great, lazy day of games, shows, and a walk through back alleyways.  Joanna cooked up pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes, and I helped her make zombie brownies for Sam's birthday.  As we moved towards the evening, we went to my mom's house and stuffed ourselves on delicious food.  Hanni made some great sticky buns for Sam, which he kept eating throughout the next few days and took to Jamie's to continue.

Friday morning, Sam's actual birthday, we gave him the previously mentioned brownies, along with far too many presents.  He strangely enjoyed the Bender robot from Futurama, which came with a bottle of beer and cigar.  He and Emma would wind it up and gleefully watch it stagger about.  I also got him The Last Night On Earth, a zombie game which we immediately played.  Emma dropped out midway, and a reluctant Joanna took her place.  Soon she was cheerfully dispatching zombies with her shotgun and good dice rolls, and the heroes saved the day.  My dad came over to hang out and fix computers, and helped set up the zombie game.  I have fond memories of boardgames with little cardboard cutouts as a kid.

I took the kids to Jamie's and we got ready for our Portland trip.  The drive was quick and we checked into the hotel deLuxe early in the evening.  Dinner was at Pastini Pastaria, which had gluten-free spaghetti.  Next was off to Sealed for Freshness, a hysterical play about Tupperware parties of the 60's.  We were very lazy and slept in until past eight in the morning, eventually working our way to Mother's Bistro for breakfast.  I had the tofu scramble, and Joanna had salmon hash, both very tasty.

We returned to check out of the hotel, briefly stopping to webcam with Berry and Duncan.  Next was window shopping and visiting the Nordstrom's Rack where I patiently held coats and watched Joanna try things on.  We then wandered into Border's, which was having a going out of business sale, and got some great deals on Christmas presents.

On the way out of town, we stopped by a gluten-free bakery for goodies and coffee.  The drive home was somewhat dreary and long.  I pondered Christmas presents and projects.  I'm going to try and refinish an old end table of Joanna's tonight.  Tomorrow she and I are dressing like elves and volunteering at the hospital.  I've promised the kids I'll try to pick them up tomorrow in our full elven attire, complete with ear extensions.  Should be fun.

Snow Day

November 24, 2010 by Adam in Family

It snowed yesterday, school was canceled and I worked from home all day. It was surprisingly productive, with the number of interruptions being quite minimal. Sam was sick on Monday, and cheerfully enjoyed a second day of leisure.

I took Sam to play with Emma in the snow at lunch, which had mostly melted at that point. We got wet and cold, and generally enjoyed ourselves. Joanna went into work for a few hours after the roads were clear.

It's very strange not having the little kids about. Our evenings are a little aimless, filled with episodes of Chuck and catching up on miscellaneous tasks. The flea eradication project continues. I set up a dish full of soapy water, with a light above it. They've both caught a number of fleas, but the amount is dwindling.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, as well as my anniversary with Joanna. I think we'll mostly hang out with the kids during the day, but I have a little prezzie for her. Our main celebration is the grand Portland outing, which should be quite entertaining. Thanksgiving dinner is scheduled with my mom, and Sam requested cinnimon rolls for his birthday dessert. We'll do another little celebration on his actual birthday tomorrow too.

As for today, I'm getting things done and doing a bit of online shopping. I love getting goodies for kids, as I know I get to play with them too.

There And Back Again

November 22, 2010 by Adam in Family

Joanna flew across the country and back again, safely getting Berry and Duncan to their dad's in Rochester. She was pretty worn out this morning, having driven until eleven last night. We still managed to get to work on time.

It was a quiet weekend with just Sam and Emma. We had a lot of fun, generally staying indoors out of the rain and cold. We played Cosmic Encounter, video games, building things in the basement, and made soup and cookies. Sam was at Jamie's Friday night, so we bid farewell to Joanna, Berry, and Duncan Saturday morning and went to the library. Emma checked out books on fashion design, then we went home and waited for Sam to arrive. Sam and I finished our Trine game, which was challenging but fun. It was a pizza and Mythbusters night, after that.

Sunday I made an omelet for breakfast, worked on homework, played a bit, and ran around in the basement. I got all the laundry done and cleaned up quite a bit. The basement in particular got well scrubbed. The kids are still getting flea bites, so it's time to lay more traps tonight.

Rumor has it we'll get snow tonight. That typically means school gets canceled, so I might work from home tomorrow morning. It also means it's time to break out the heat lamp for the chickens. Only one of the three is producing eggs these days.

I'm excited for the short week, Sam's birthday, and heading to Portland with Joanna this weekend. Should be fun.

Mocha Friday

November 19, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's a delicious mocha Friday, piping hot and delicious. I have far too much work, but it's interesting and the caffeine makes me smarter than I really am.

It's been pretty low-key at the house this week, as Joanna was sick and out of work for a couple days. I took Berry and Duncan to school and generally kept things semi-organized. Fortunately she's on the mend and at work today, getting ready for her flight tomorrow.

Last night I left work early so Joanna and I could try on elf costumes. I was talked into volunteering the day after Thanksgiving, working at the hospital as part of a Santa thing. I think I'll be lifting children onto Santa's lap. I'm getting bells on my shoes and pointy ears too. Emma came with us and loved the costume store, trying on dresses and admiring the wigs. It was a long drive to Cottage Grove, but fun.

Emma scored a perfect 15 out of 15 on her spelling test. Sam got his final assignment from when he was sick at the beginning of the year. Last night he was working on his final draft of his immigrant's journal, written on paper aged with tea stains. I think he enjoys the creativity of the assignments in Cultural Connections. He also reported another time getting a fellow chess player in checkmate, so it's nice to see him building confidence all around.

I also went food shopping last night. Joanna and I were going to volunteer Wednesday, but instead retreated to the shed and watched Doctor Who as she was feeling so bad. Last night we were going to go dancing, but I instead sent her upstairs to nap. This pushed out my typical food shopping until last night. Emma came along, and was exceedingly cheerful, while I helped Sam over the phone with his homework. I ended up getting a pomegranate, white tea, and yogurt due to Emma's prompting. I completely forgot a couple snack items for Joanna's flight. Life seems to involve a lot of juggling and work, but it's meaningful and satisfying.

We've been taking extreme measures to kill off the fleas in the play room. I dumped a mixture of borax and diatomaceous earth all around. Sam's soapy water filled flea trap caught ten fleas so far, and I'll put my powder in his room tonight. I think that should take care of them nicely.

Sam's off at his mom's again tonight, and we'll have a low-key evening of packing tonight. Joanna leaves after breakfast tomorrow, Emma and I will likely go to the library, and pick up Sam after that. I predict a lazy weekend full of Mythbusters, homework, and house projects. Hopefully we can do a family hike too, perhaps visiting the Mount Pisgah Play in the Rain event.

Mid-Week Update

November 18, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's hard to believe that the week is half over already. Joanna and I have been sick, her more than I. She stayed home today after I took her from work early yesterday.

The flea infestation is slowly being taken care of. We put out a bowl of soapy water, hung a light over it, and caught a couple. Last night I picked up some Borax and diatomaceous earth to spread around on the carpets. Everything got vacuumed yesterday too. With luck, treatment, and no cat, it'll all get taken care of.

Sam's science grade went from a no-pass to a B, after he talked to the teacher and got a bunch of his work graded properly. We have some questions for his health class to turn in and then I think he'll be completely caught up. He's doing a journal on immigration that's pretty cool, role-playing a Russian carpenter.

If Joanna and I are up for it, I think we're going to Food for Lane County tonight to repackage food to give out. Should be fun. Tomorrow is dancing, I think, and Saturday morning Joanna, Berry, and Duncan leave for Rochester. Joanna's gone for the weekend, but we won't see B&D until after Thanksgiving.

Robots, Board Games, and Play

November 15, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work after four days of hanging out with the kids.  It was lovely and lazy and extremely self-indulgent.

Sam was at Jamie's Friday night, and our babysitter was busy, so Joanna and I hung out with the younger kids and watched the Sherlock Holmes movie.  Saturday Sam arrived in the morning, and I took the younger kids to the library by myself.  We had a good time, and I'm getting the hang of managing three kids at once.  We returned with a hefty supply of books.

In the afternoon we took the younger kids to the Autumn Fair at the Little French School.  We shopped briefly and all moved to the craft room to work on projects.  Emma made an archer doll with my assistance.  She also had three of her old teachers recognize her, which was cool.

I managed to sneak in assorted play time, specifically with a game called Trine.  It's a physics-based fantasy game.  My favorite character was the wizard, and spent a lot of time dropping summoned boxes on people's heads.  Sam and I ended up laughing a lot, which was the main point.

The evening was low-key and Sam, Joanna, and I ended up watching Chuck as is the way of our people.

Sunday Joanna and I went to church on Sunday and heard Bishop Spong speak, a mixture of stand up comedy and how he didn't particularly like religious people.  The afternoon Joanna took Duncan on a play date.  Sam, Emma, and I played a great game of Magic.  Emma and I played a vampire board game.  I broke out the robot, which Sam immediately grabbed and begun to program.  Soon the whir of servos filled the kitchen, followed by a robotic "Whoops" whenever it ran into things.

Life is good.


Tea-Filled Friday

November 12, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm on my second day off of work, which has been quite lazy and relaxing.  I've been hanging out with kids, playing games, and generally being self-indulgent.  It's been wonderful.

Swing dancing was great on Wednesday.  They had a live band and the place was packed.  I felt a little inadequate among all the amazing dancers, but Joanna's pretty easy to dance with and ignore everyone else.

Yesterday Joanna was off of work and we generally hung out at home.  I took Sam to the dentist, where they took out one of his baby teeth that was causing issues. It was somewhat uncomfortable, and he basically sat around taking ibuprophen for the rest of the day.  Lots of The Office was watched.

Emma arrived in the afternoon and joined the lounging about.  We went to the store together to load up on pizza for pizza and Mythbusters.  Kids were sent to bed.  Chuck was watched.  Life's good.

Today Joanna had to go off to work, and Berry and Duncan to school.  Sam, Emma, and I played a great game of Magic, where Emma completely slaughtered us.  I just picked up Duncan from the Little French School.  Emma enjoyed playing on her old playground briefly.  Now Emma and Duncan are drawing while I sip tea.

The Walking Dead

November 10, 2010 by Adam in Family

We've been sick on and off the last few days. Joanna was out Monday night, laying down upon arriving home and waking up briefly around ten. Berry and Duncan cheerfully let me feed them and get them in bed, leaving Sam and I to watch another episode of The Walking Dead. As before, it's awesome and creepy.

Sam was home sick yesterday, with mom picking him up from school. I fetched him and kept an eye on him at home. While downstairs reading, he managed to pull out his loose molar. Tomorrow he's getting two more pulled, so the Tooth Fairy will be shelling out quite a bit of cash.

Berry has the sniffles, and wasn't feeling very well last night, and was coughing a bit. Duncan's been fine, and Joanna reports that his parent-teacher conferences went well this morning, as expected.

I continue to actually read a book, which is loads of fun. I'm not quite sure why I stopped reading, other than the absolute lack of time.

Sam and Emma both reported bug bites, and Sam found some fleas jumping about. I bought some spray stuff, vacuumed his carpet, and started washing all his clothes. With Hobbes gone, it seems they've decided to feast on juicy humans.

Joanna and I hope to go swing dancing tonight, a live band. I've also got some conferences with Sam's teachers tonight. Busy, busy.

Lazy Weekends

November 08, 2010 by Adam in Family

Well, the weekend was lazy for me. Joanna ended up going to two different birthday events, while I generally took it easy. Joanna was also recovering from her cold, and napped a lot on Saturday, but was mostly improved by Saturday.

Friday evening I left work a little early, paid off the contractor that supposedly worked on the basement leak, cashed the insurance check, went shopping for Sunday dinner, got Tasty Thai food, and picked up Emma. Sam went to Jamie's for the night, arriving in the morning after breakfast. I made a triple batch of crepes, which is about how many we go through in a week.

My mom's helper guy, Richard, came over at ten. We got the light up in the basement, and the storm window back on the french doors. It felt really good to get that all accomplished. Afterward, we made a family expedition to the library, returning with endless books, even one for me that I've actually been reading.

Sam and I played Titan Quest when Joanna took Berry and Duncan to the first birthday party. It was amazingly fun, adventuring across the Greek landscape fighting mythological beasts. Emma even played a little. Sam and Emma got a ton of homework done. Emma in particular went through quite a bit of reading, math, and handwriting practice. The evening had us watching Mythbusters and eating pizza. I'd gotten Joanna a gluten-free crust, and it turned out nicely. After everyone got to sleep, Sam, Joanna, and I watched another Chuck episode.

Sunday morning I made gluten-free chocolate-chip scones. I managed to break a plate after breakfast and cut up my fingers a fair amount. We had another lazy morning, with Joanna working on assorted computer projects for work. Collette scooped up Berry, Joanna took Duncan to the wave pool where they had a great time, and I took Emma to Morgan's house. Sam and I played more of our game, making me feel very self-indulgent.

The evening was full of cooking and family, barely fitting everyone around our two tables. The food was excellent, as well as the company.

Doc Marten Mocha Friday

November 05, 2010 by Adam in Family

I think my broken toe is finally healed, at least to the point where I can wear my Doc Marten's on Friday as I used to. I bonked my pinkie toe on a chair yesterday, and the pain wasn't excruciating, so that's a plus.

Sam's really enjoying Cultural Connections, where he's roleplaying a Russian immigrant. His character was rolled up like an RPG, and he's a strapping young lad with no money, excellent health, and an elementary school education. He was up writing stories about his journey to America last night.

Emma arrived yesterday, and was happy and charming as usual. Joanna was sick and lost her voice, staying home yesterday. I arrived to find everyone but Sam in the backyard, getting the garden ready for the winter. I'm not quite sure what she plans on doing with the green tomatoes, but I hope it's tasty.

After dinner last night, we played Duncan's favorite game of telephone, each person whispering in the next person's ear. Everyone seems to get into it, and occasionally the phrase gets garbled into something especially funny. Last night was more fun than usual as Joanna could only whisper.

There was some big school news yesterday, where they plan on closing Crest Drive where Emma goes to school. It's all quite annoying, but I'm hopeful Jamie and I can figure out a good school for her next year if it all comes to pass.

As for the weekend, we have the big family dinner on Sunday. I'd like to accomplish some chores, though the usual reality is that I can never get everything done. Sam's spending the night at Jamie's and home tomorrow morning. Play time with the kids sounds great. I'm not sure if I can pull off a date with Joanna tonight, as our usual sitter is busy. Maybe I'll call my mom and see if she can feed three kids tonight.

There was a funny moment this morning when Jamie arrived and started assisting Duncan and Berry to get their shoes on and out the door. I'm glad we're all able to get along as well as we do. Emma has no school, so she and Jamie get to hang out today. I'm taking two days off next week, so it'll soon be my turn to watch kids on their days off school.


November 03, 2010 by Adam in Family

I went to Emma's parent-teacher conference yesterday. Her teacher had glowing words for her enthusiasm, kindness, and overall helpfulness. The two areas that Emma needed help in were handwriting and coin recognition. There's always something, I suppose. It was good to see her doing so well with reading comprehension and math. Plus it was fun to just see her for a little, as I don't get to again until Thursday.

Sam reported that he played chess as usual during lunch yesterday, and got checkmate within five moves against a moderately good player. That was neat to hear, not only that he's doing well, but that he's making friends and fitting in. His homework is increasingly caught up, and school isn't quite as overwhelming as it once seemed.

The holidays are coming up and plans are getting finalized for Thanksgiving, Sam's birthday, school furlough days, and winter break. Jamie and I had a productive chat yesterday and I think it's mostly sorted out. Joanna and I are trying to figure out a Portland trip.

Last night I went food shopping and helped Sam with homework over the phone as usual. The plan is to go swing dancing tonight. Life continues onward.


November 01, 2010 by Adam in Family

Halloween has come and gone, our neighborhood awash with hordes of children.  Emma wore four different costumes between Friday and Sunday - a kitty, a vampire or two, and someone wearing a nice dress and makeup.  Berry had two - Taylor Swift and a princess.  Duncan stuck with a lady bug.  Sam opted not to dress up this year, and cheerfully ate all the candy the smaller kids didn't want.  He feasted well last night and this morning.

In terms of the rest of the weekend, it mostly involved puttering about.  Saturday morning I took the smaller kids to the library while Joanna got a hair cut.  She was pretty wiped out, so she had a bit of quiet time while I finished painting the basement.  Everything but the main light is up at this point, so it feels good to finally get that accomplished.

The afternoon was full of birthdays and Halloween parties.  I took Emma to Kate's party, which had ten or so class mates.  Tom and Julie had done up their house in an elaborate fashion, and Emma enjoyed playing with the various skulls and fortune telling props in the basement.  As for me, I talked to a guy dressed as the Cat in the Hat who ran Emma's Coyote Kids program last year.

It was a low-key night, with Joanna and I watching Doctor Who since Sam wasn't around.  Emma had trouble sleeping, but finally crashed around nine.  There were chores in the morning, laundry and cleaning.  I was admittedly a bit grumpy, but perked up later in the day.  Everyone put on costumes for church, and we returned home to Sam at his computer.

We had a deliberately lazy afternoon, with everyone playing inside and out.  Halloween was fun, seeing everyone's costumes and watching Berry use her cuteness to haul in the candy. Emma had trouble sleeping again, so four of us watched Chuck and went to bed.

The Halloween Edition of Mocha Friday

October 29, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm dressed as Chuck, from the Chuck TV show, sipping on my mocha and working on SharePoint issues.  The badge came out particularly well for my outfit, which otherwise looks like a standard shirt and tie with Converse.  The plan is I wear it off and on to the various Halloween festivities throughout the weekend.

Sam got his grades on Wednesday, an odd mix of A's and B's, as well as a couple C's and a D.  He still had some missing assignments from when he was sick, and getting them, turning them in, and getting them graded has been challenging.  He still has math and science, which I'm hoping will be done soon.  I've got to get him a new book for independent reading when I take all the kids to the library tomorrow.  And lots of math.

Yesterday was somewhat fun, leaving work early and taking Emma to Skate World.  We ran into a friend of hers, and many people were dressed up.  Unfortunately her stomach started to hurt, she got hungry, there were some falls, and we decided to head home.  Duncan's stomach was hurting this morning too, so I'm hoping we don't all get sick this weekend.

Berry and Duncan have a birthday party to go to tomorrow, as does Emma.  We'll see how everyone's feeling.  Joanna and I are going to a movie at the old McDonald Theater tonight, which should be entertaining.  Hopefully my mom can come over and play Pretty, Pretty Princess with Emma and Berry.


October 27, 2010 by Adam in Family

We're a Glee household. Last night after Berry and Duncan got to bed, Sam, Joanna, and I piled on to the couches to watch the latest episode. I have a soft spot in my heart for Rocky Horror Picture Show, and an episode based on it did not disappoint.

Other than that, it's been a relatively quiet week. The nuttiness of the weekend has faded and Joanna and I have both recaptured our humor and good natured demeanor. Duncan and Berry have been generally cute and charming. Sam has been working for hours on homework every night after dinner. Joanna discovered a new British accent that cracks everyone up.

Last night I went shopping, as usual. The routine is to put on my headset and wander the aisles throwing food in the cart while helping Sam with homework. I had to reassure the checkout woman that the voices in my head were really there. Sam strangely likes me helping remotely, and I like the company as I shop.

I have a lot of things I'm looking forward to that are coming up. Tonight Joanna and I are going swing dancing. I'm taking Emma roller skating Thursday afternoon. Halloween is this weekend, and I'm going to either dust off my pirate outfit, or try and pull off Chuck.

I did get news that Sam is going to have to have a couple teeth extracted. I'll try to get it soon enough before Thanksgiving so that he can eat turkey and his birthday cake. These things are important.

Relaxing at Work

October 25, 2010 by Adam in Family

Some Mondays I look forward to going to work after a really busy weekend. My tasks are fun and interesting, and the interruptions are fewer and typically polite.

Sam worked on homework every day for three days. The PowerPoint presentation was put together, his poster on submarines was created, math was finished, and he revised his book cover based on assignments he learned was missing. To top it off, I learned he finished his woodworking quiz. It took a few weeks, but he got 100% as required and can now use all the nifty power tools. So, I was proud of him for getting everything done. It was somewhat exhausting, and I didn't accomplish a lot else beyond that.

The basement is slowly coming together. I painted one wall and put the washer and dryer in place. That felt good. Yesterday I put in the smoke alarm and the shelf. I still need to put in two lights and paint more, but it seems less overwhelming than at the beginning. I still haven't heard anything from the contractor who was supposed to do all this work. Kind of annoying.

Other than that, it was your basic cooking meals, doing laundry, cleaning, and so on. Sunday morning I made great gluten-free scones, and Joanna and Berry made cookies in the afternoon. Everyone but Sam went to carve pumpkins at Jason's house like the year before. Emma came home with Sea Monkeys, which she's very excited about.

I look forward to the routine, and settling down a bit. Cereal and Chuck each night sounds like a wonderful reward for the end of a rough day.

Way Too Much Coffee Friday

October 23, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's Saturday morning already, with everyone still fast asleep.  Yesterday was a whirlwind day, which I took off from work in order to accomplish everything.

I took Emma to school in the morning, bringing Sam along for the ride.  It went smoothly, other than the forgotten backpack which was lost in the shuffle of the piggy bank, jacket, and poncho.  Afterward, we headed to the Glenwood for a tasty breakfast with my mom.  No mocha, but plenty of coffee.  There's the possibility that she take our cat Hobbes, who isn't getting a lot of attention and makes the basement off-limits for me for a long time.  We'll see how that turns out.

After breakfast, Sam and I returned home for homework.  He slowly waded through math while I sanded the drywall smooth and applied spray texture.  It doesn't quite match, but it looks well enough.  I had a huge sense of relief to finally put the washer and dryer back for good, as well as clean up most of the mess.  I have some touch-up and the ceiling to paint, but the vast majority is done.  The contractor who was supposed to do it never showed up the week before last.  Like with work, if you want to do something right, I've learned it's best done yourself.

Sam worked on his PowerPoint presentation on stress relief through crying after lunch.  I left him plugging away at it while I picked up Emma from school.  We immediately went to an afternoon birthday party at Skate World.  Emma had never skated before, and I hadn't for probably twenty years.  It was awesome, though, skating around the rink and holding hands as she worked really hard to figure it out.  There were many falls on her butt, which was still sore that night.

Eventually we had cake and slipped out to visit Joanna at work.  Emma went home with her and I went to get pizza.  Once again we had pizza and Mythbusters, the tradition continuing.  Sam worked on PowerPoint a bit more, exercised with the weights I got him and did stair stepping.  After all the kids were in bed, the three of us watched two episodes of Chuck and went to bed tired, but satisfied.

I'm not sure we've completely nailed down the schedule for today.  I'd like to go to the library.  Sam needs to do some more homework, and is going to a birthday party this afternoon.  Joanna and I are trying to get some time together.  Tomorrow we're going to a pumpkin carving party.  Life's busy, but good.  Better start making crepes for the hordes when they awake.

Quiet Weekend

October 18, 2010 by Adam in Family

We had a fairly quiet weekend all-around. Sam and Emma went to the beach with Jamie. Emma went out shell collecting and claims to have touched a seal. Sam took the "relax at the beach" approach, spending the weekend reading and watching assorted videos.

Friday night Joanna and I took Berry and Duncan swimming. They continue to really enjoy the water, and we had a fine time all around. Saturday was surprisingly busy, starting with a Health Kids run where B&D loaded up on prizes, got their pictures taken with the U of O cheerleaders and mascot, and ran around inside to get their face painted. After that was a trip to Target, Ben Franklin, the Beanery, Down to Earth, and finally an orchard out in Springfield. We returned home with an apple tree, exhausted.

We puttered around for the afternoon, doing chores and enjoying the day. I actually got some reading in, the Walking Dead books that Sam strongly recommended. They were excellent and creepy, and made short work of them. Joanna had a work event, leaving Duncan and Berry with me, my first night taking care of them alone. Fortunately they were wonderful and Berry exclaimed that I could babysit anytime. They quietly fell asleep and I managed to play a little Civilization V before Joanna returned, gussied up and tired.

Sunday was a hearty breakfast of crepes and bacon, with gluten-free crepes for Joanna. They were delicious, as always. We went to church, came home for lunch, and puttered about until Sam and Emma arrived. Sam's been motivated to earn some money for a game, so I put him to work digging a hole for the new apple tree. Since I got a little more of his time, I took him to the basement and we patched drywall a little more. It's looking really good.

Emma is fun to have about, as always. We laughed and played in the yard and had a good time. We did some of her math homework and worked a little on her reading. I missed tucking her to bed at night.

Vanilla Mocha Friday

October 15, 2010 by Adam in Family

Just to prove that I can be exciting and zany, I had a vanilla mocha this morning. Plus it was the special, so it was cheap. But I'm zany, too, honest. It was a rough week for Sam, as he had stomach pain Wednesday night, was up late, and was completely out of it Thursday morning. I worked at home until it was time for him to go to school. I fretted about him all day long, but when I arrived home he was laughing and fighting zombies with Josh so all was well. He's getting increasingly caught up with his homework, and hopefully with a weekend push he'll finally get to where he needs to be. Emma stayed over last night, and was a treat to have about as always. She got her glasses, so she excitedly wore them off and on throughout the night. It was also Berry's half birthday, so we had cupcakes, sang songs, and handed out a small present. She was horribly excited and wanted to take her new jewelry case to sharing at school this morning. That didn't pass the mum test, so we went with the heart pillow. The kids are both going to the beach with Jamie until Sunday afternoon, so it'll be somewhat quiet about the house. I think we'll try going swimming tonight, a kid run for Duncan in the morning, shopping for fruit trees in the afternoon, and then Joanna's going to a work gala that evening. I'm putting the kids to bed, which hopefully will go well. I have a Barbie DVD, just in case. Sunday I'm hoping the kids get back early afternoon, as Sam's been wanting to work for money and I should have some holes to dig.

Mid-Week Update

October 13, 2010 by Adam in Family

Life continues to be great, busy, and full.  Emma's glasses arrived, which we're trying to get to her.  Duncan lost a tooth, writing a very sweet letter to the Tooth Fairy.  Sam went home Tuesday with a headache, and have been frantically trying to catch up on homework.  Hopefully we can get caught up and reduce his stress levels.  Emma wanted to come over Monday night to practice bike riding.  Berry has been cute and funny and singing the "Get Your Sparkle On" Barbie song.

The house projects continue.  As I can't really afford to pay anyone to fix things, I've been doing it myself.  The contractor has yet to call, so I've been finishing the drywall myself.  We had the roof leak over the weekend during the heavy rains. The sprinkler system doesn't work.  The outdoor light does this weird on/off cycle.  The gas fireplace doesn't turn on.  Maybe next year I can go through and pay to get all the miscellaneous issues resolved.

Joanna and I went out to our first Lindy Hop lesson last night, and it turns out the room was double booked.  There were a couple tai chi people, and we decided we could probably have taken them.  Of course, they'd fight in slow motion and we'd have to do a dance fight.  It probably would have ended in tears and hysterical laughter.

Five Days Away

October 11, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's been so much fun having five days off, four of them with the kids.  Much was accomplished, from fixing the dead battery and corroded cables in the car, to patching the basement drywall even more since the contractor didn't call.  More issues popped up, such as a leak in the living room roof, which is mysterious.  Joanna sewed up a storm, finishing pajamas for both kids.

Saturday morning we all went to the library, where I loaded up on zombie graphic novels for Sam.  There was a puppet incident, and Duncan had a minor meltdown, fortunately reverting to a nice boy again by the afternoon.  We all worked on projects and I did a store run for pizza at the end of the day.  I took Emma out for a bike ride, where she ended up getting really good.  Sam returned from Jamie's and we had pizza and Mythbusters, the first time in months.

Sunday morning everyone but Sam woke up early and we drove to Autzen for a 5K Race for the Cure.  It was pouring rain, so Joanna took the kids to load up on cookies and swag.  I had a great time running hard through the rain, passing people as I went.  I heard a "Go Adam!" as I ran across the finish line, and we all wandered home.  I cooked up a massive breakfast for myself, and froze a bunch of crepes for the week.  I woke up Sam, who stayed up reading The Walking Dead, and we chatted about zombies while slathering on whip cream.  Good times.

The rest of the day was made up of homework, house projects, play dates, and a trip to the park for riding and play.  Sunday dinner we discovered that the kids love artichokes, or at least the part where they dip it in butter.  Sam did stairstepping, Emma ate tofu, and we watched more Chuck after the littler kids dozed off.

Mocha Evening

October 09, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's nearly dinnertime, and my morning's self-made mocha is long gone.  Joanna and I are going to a coffee shop to listen to music, so I may end up getting lucky again.  We'll see.

It's day two of no school and no work.  Joanna had her "hot needles in the back" procedure, and is recovering nicely.  Her fog seems to have lifted, after almost twelve hours of sleep yesterday between the night and naps.  She ran errands, worked, and is sewing up a variety of kid outfits.

Sam, Josh, and I played far too much Left 4 Dead 2 yesterday, battling zombies and giggling all the way.  Sam is also working hard on catching up with his homework.  After missing a week and a half of school, he has quite a way to catch up.

Jamie picked up Sam this morning after breakfast.  I took Emma to the eye doctors, where she picked out glasses.  I walked Berry and Duncan over to Collette's and Emma took me for a haircut and Metropol goodies.  Emma and I worked on homework, ate lunch, and went down to the park to ride bikes.  Upon our return, I worked on laundry, cleaned up the basement, taped drywall, and generally worked too much.

We have assorted events this weekend.  Tomorrow we'll likely go to the library, and I have a 5K run on Sunday.  Maybe I can even relax a bit along the way.

Jog-A-Thons and Back Procedures

October 07, 2010 by Adam in Family

I didn't really work today, though I found myself at work more than once.  Sam was also on the mend, semi-cheerfully heading off to school.  I dropped off Joanna, did a bit of work, and drove over to Emma's jog-a-thon.  She was having a great time, and was her usual cute, impish self.  She's excited to come over tomorrow for four days of no work and school, as am I.

Next was a stop at the battery store to replace the battery for the Sentra which died in the Oregon Community Credit Union drive-through.  I headed over to pick up Joanna and took her to her back procedure place, where she was getting her lower back nerves zapped with RF.

I rubbed her feet as she got her IV hooked up and waited.  Off she was wheeled, returning 30 minutes later, stoned out of her mind.  Evidently whatever sedation they gave her was pretty significant.  Eating the cheese stick they gave her seemed to take forever.  I eventually got her into the car and off to home, where I doted on her throughout the day.

Sam came home and we worked on getting his schoolwork organized.  I was a little miffed that his science homework didn't make it home.  Hopefully we can get that next week.  He still has a long list of odds and ends, but at the end of the afternoon, I felt far more together.

We got kiddos to bed and watched Glee.  Tomorrow is the dentist for Sam and Friday is the eye doctor for Emma.  Otherwise I want to hang out and take it easy.

Walking through the Woods

October 04, 2010 by Adam in Family

It was another whirlwind weekend, as it often is when everyone is about. Sam stayed home on Friday, still sick, but was fortunately much improved on Saturday. He played with his friend Chase, and then switched to John upon arriving home. The two of them had a good time until John's departure Sunday morning.

Joanna and I snuck away for a little bit Friday night, walking over to Metropol to get a bit of fresh air and goodies for the morning. Joanna's been playing with her GoFit gadget, which records her steps, activity, and so on. It's highly entertaining to the scientist in me.

Saturday afternoon Emma's friend Morgan also showed up, and the two girls had a great time playing Sims 3 and filming movies. I entertained Berry and Duncan while Joanna shopped, repeatedly dropping them on the Foof in the basement.

Sunday came with a huge batch of crepes and whip cream. Emma, Berry, and Duncan watched a new Barbie movie while Sam and John hung out. I did a bit of work on the drywall, which hopefully will get finished by some contractors by next weekend. I'll do the painting, and can hopefully call it good without going completely broke. The kitchen sink works great, at least.

Everyone but Sam went to church, returning for lunch, playing a bit, and then going for a walk on Ridgeline Trail. We found an odd little shelter made out of sticks, which fascinated everyone. Emma loved picking blackberries, and Berry and Duncan loved to eat them.

That night, there was a huge dinner for my family. It was great seeing everyone, celebrating Hanni and Collette's birthdays, and eating good food. After endless dishes, cleaning, and getting Emma to bed, Joanna, Sam and I collapsed on the couch to watch Chuck. It's those simple pleasures that I live for.

Emma may need glasses. I've got an eye appointment for her coming up later this week. My car battery died. We got a new chicken. Life goes on.

Taylor Swift Friday

October 01, 2010 by Adam in Family

I can always tell when Emma's back home again. Berry ends up dressed up and covered in makeup. The two of them start singing songs and chatting. Taylor Swift is pretty huge in the house, and there was a lot of singing over the last couple days. Sam continues to be sick, was out yesterday and again today. I'm trying hard to get him caught up with homework. We've been doing his reading every night, and answering questions. There was a break for Glee on Tuesday, and yesterday he watched the final episode of The Colony. I hope he's not worrying about school, and it's just the virus everyone else has had. Transitioning from Summer can be rough for everyone. Joanna's finally feeling better after a week of coughing and sneezing. I really hope this weekend marks the end of all the sicknesses. We have lots of playdates lined up, as well as the Sunday night dinner. Should be fun and busy. Strange rumors continue to rumble around at work. We had a bleak team meeting where it seemed more likely that everyone's jobs would move to Vancouver. I'm not leaving my kids, so it would mean I'd need to find new work. Still, internal communication is horrible and no one really knows anything. It could be that nothing happens, and even if it does, it's not for years. I tossed and turned last night, then awoke hopeful. I've reinvented myself before, and can do so again. My mocha was wonderful this morning. Joanna and I are going to have a quick date of sorts together tonight, walking down to a coffee shop and chatting, then returning home. I look forward to the weekend and hanging out with kids. Family is very reassuring.

At Least The Kids Got To School

September 28, 2010 by Adam in Family

Poor Joanna's been feeling under the weather the last couple days, and decided that she wasn't up for going to school. After Sam and I being sick all last week, it wasn't entirely unexpected.

Joanna helped get Berry and Duncan to the car, and then I drove them to Fox Hollow and put Berry on the bus to the Little French School. The kids were surprisingly cheerful, possibly due to my endless silly dialog.

Joanna told me she got Sam to eat a bit of food and sent him on his way. Sam's bump on his forehead from yesterday is still a little red, but no bruising so far. He was swamped with homework against last night, and I had him reading and doing math for most of the night. Tomorrow will be more of the same. I'm hoping that Joanna and I can find some time to hang out this week. So far, illnesses and busy babysitters have kept us at home, watching old episodes of Chuck.

Picnics, Birthdays, and Too Much Drywall

September 27, 2010 by Adam in Family

Jamie had the kids from Friday afternoon until Sunday night, so my plan was to put up drywall in the basement and get things increasingly finished up. Little did I know what was in store for me. Friday night was fun and pleasant. We went to Fox Hollow for a fundraiser picnic. Duncan and Berry played like crazy on the playground, with everyone impressed by how brave Duncan has become leaping about the play structures. I ran into lots of people I know - James and Michele from work, and Barbara who used to teach Emma at the Little French School. In any case, Duncan slid down the hill on pizza boxes like everyone else, and they all had a good time. Saturday I started in on my basement project in earnest, picking up the supplies I needed from the store, along with a replacement freezer as the old one kept shocking me. Once I returned, I begun the messy task of hanging insulation and cutting drywall to fit. It ended up being far more difficult than I thought, and Joanna and I wrestled two main ceiling boards into place with much swearing and grunting. I cleaned myself up and took Berry and Duncan to drop off old TVs and clothes at Goodwill, followed be eating outside on a lovely evening. Sunday morning was more of the same, putting up more drywall before church. It was getting old at this point, and my arms and back were sore from the day before. I took a break for church and lunch, and was back again at it for the afternoon, finishing up a little before four to join Joanna, Berry, and Duncan down at the park. Sam and Emma returned, and I took Emma to the park where they all excitedly hugged each other. At five we gathered up Collette and headed to PF Chang's for dinner. That was an exciting experience, with a full glass of lemonade spilled, and vocal complaints about disliking noodles. Eventually it grew cheerful, helped along by numerous desserts and funny games by Sam. Sam was quite cheerful and seemed perky after his week of being sick. He stair-stepped and lifted weights while watching Futurama, and I sent him off to bed. Unfortunately his morning ended up a comedy of errors. He read his school book an extra chapter too far, rushed out the house without his trumpet and Me Box, returned to the house and lost the key in the bushes. Climbed in through the window and left again, forgetting things a second time. When he came in the third time, he bumped his head. Each time he called and I reassured him that it would be okay. I was a little nervous the last time, and was reassured to hear when he got to the office okay. So much for an easy return to school after being sick for a week.

Finally On the Mend

September 24, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm working away at my mocha this morning. It was free due to buying ten already, and thus all the tastier. I finally feel normal after a week of being sick. Normal is pretty awesome.

Sam's doing better, but Jamie called to say that she was keeping him home today. He ate breakfast, which is a plus, and wolfed down dinner last night. Still, his throat is sore and isn't quite up to his usual cheerful self. Thankfully Jamie's going to help gather up his homework, which has built to the overwhelming stage after a week from school.

Emma was home last night, which was lots of fun. She played with Berry and Duncan, spent some quality time with the cat, and managed a very short game of Monopoly with Sam and I. I think Sam's missed her a bit, and am glad they get to hang out together this weekend. Then it was bath, stories, and bed. This morning I got out of the shower to find her and Joanna chatting in bed about the relative merit of brothers, which was pretty amusing. It was also picture day today, and she was looking pretty great with her purple hair.

Jamie has the kids until Sunday evening, and I have a long list of project work to accomplish this weekend. If I can finish hanging drywall in the basement, I'll declare success. Hopefully I can sneak in some other things as well as take a little time for enjoyment along the way.

Midweek Check-In

September 22, 2010 by Adam in Family

Wednesday already. Poor Sam's been sick all week, throwing up a couple times and generally feeling lousy. I'm finally getting over a cold that started on the weekend, and my stomach felt bad yesterday too. I'm hoping he's on the mend today, and can get some rest. The start of school always seems to bring a rash of sickness with it. Good times.

The week has generally been uneventful. Joanna went out to her PTO meeting at Fox Hollow last night, with Collette watching the kids. Sam and I retreated to the shed to watch The Event, which seemed like a good-but-typical Mystery show. After Joanna returned, we gathered around the TV to watch the season premiere of Glee.

I talked to Emma a little last night, who seems to be doing well. Some other girl in her class got purple streaks in her hair the same day she did.

Berry and Duncan are their usual selves, cheerful and grumpy and funny in a zesty three-and-five-year-old blend. Getting everyone to school in the morning is always a great adventure.

Pirate Days and Purple Hair

September 20, 2010 by Adam in Family

It was a full, exciting weekend, as it usually is. Friday night we opted not to go swimming, and instead hung out at home. Saturday I made endless crepes, a triple batch to supply Duncan with his current favorite food most days. We ate a little late, and everyone got a tad grumpy, eventually remedied with whip cream. Emma and I worked on her math homework, which she breezed through. Since it was Talk Like a Pirate Day, we applied pirate tattoos and dressed up as appropriate. Eventually we gathered up everyone in the minivan and picked up a trumpet for Sam's band class. Later that day he discovered just how much noise he could make with the thing, so we banished him to practice in the shed. After that was the library where we picked up a book for Sam's reading class, and wandered over to see the pirate-related festivities. Pirate flags were made and Berry practiced her pirate phraseology. We made it home and everyone settled down. Emma and I went to Provisions to get Sam's pizza of choice, which was readily devoured. Joanna made some post-divorce cheesecake, which everyone gobbled up. Sam started working on his "Me Box" assignment, gluing National Geographic pages all over an old wooden box, into which assorted personal items would go. So far we have pictures of his family and computer, along with vials of pizza and cheesecake. Sunday was a little odd. Emma had talked to Natalie on Friday and really wanted to go to church. We called and texted Jamie, as I told Jamie I'd check with her first. Berry also got a stripe of purple in her hair, and Emma wanted one too. Finally Jamie got back, a bit after church started, so I took Emma to church, and later we dyed everyone's hair. Emma had a good time and wants to go again. We went out to Mount Pisgah to run around in the woods. Emma found a fuzzy black and orange caterpillar that she brought home. Sam ran around like a mad man. When we got home, Joanna was exhausted, so I sent her upstairs for a nap. Somehow I managed to put on movies for everyone, feed them endless snacks, and make dinner. Sam and I watched Prince of Persia, though I only caught little bits. I got to bed, and was awoken moments later by Sam who announced he'd thrown up on the rug. I grabbed cleaning supplies, cleaned everything up, and gave him some TLC. This morning he was still feeling lousy, so I called his school and told him to go back to bed. Needless to say, I was a little groggy this morning and my cold was in full swing. This morning was the usual chaotic event, with Jamie calling out before we left to point out that we'd left Berry and Duncan's lunches in the refrigerator. It took an extra cup of tea this morning before I truly perked up. I'm currently stuck in meetings past noon, but soon I'll escape to freedom!

The Last Few Drops of Mocha

September 17, 2010 by Adam in Family

We were up quite a bit last night, Joanna even more than I, so this morning's mocha is especially delicious.  I have vague memories of Emma waking up, and Berry cheerfully telling us her dream at five in the morning.  The rest is a blur.

Wednesday night swing dancing was lots of fun.  We probably should start showing up to the lesson part, as they were doing the Charleston and I was completely hopeless moving into it from the basic swing move.  Still, it was nice to get out and be grownups together.

After work yesterday we went over to Lynn's to pick up Joanna's final divorce papers.  Lynn had a bottle of champagne for her, as this one was evidently particularly tricky.  I still have a little while to go, though hopefully we're in the final stretch.

After that we picked up some weights for Sam I found on Craigslist.  It's a pretty complete set and the cost was really low.  He's strangely excited about it, and my plan is to get him going with a cardio and weights routine each night.

We got home late to excited children, Emma giving me a huge hug.  After three days it was most welcome.  Joanna helped get dinner ready and headed out with her mom to Fox Hollow's curriculum night.  Thanks to Netflix, Berry, Duncan, and Emma cheerfully watched a movie while I helped Sam with homework.  He's got a huge amount this year, typically taking an hour and a half to get through it all.  Emma's promised me homework this weekend, and Duncan starts getting some in February, so I can see lots more in the future.

I signed over the title to Jamie's car to her this morning, as evidently it died and is getting sold for scrap.  Emma has yet to tell me the dramatic "riding in the tow truck" story.  Sam spent yesterday lunch chatting with his new friend Chase.  He seems generally excited by school and was talking about how he loved his health class.  Joanna is breaking out her organizational skills and printed a morning schedule for everyone, along with a breakfast menu to give the kids.  Emma thought it was brilliant, and was quickly ordering us around like the subservient staff that we truly are.

I think we're shooting for a low-key weekend.  Tomorrow is Talk Like a Pirate Day, celebrated at the library in the afternoon.  I want to pick up Sam's trumpet and book.  Hopefully we can fit in an outdoor adventure in there too.

Cars, Trumpets, and Freezers

September 15, 2010 by Adam in Family

Lots of small things going on. Joanna sold the Subaru yesterday, and ironically the battery died just like with our Sienna. Slowly the little things left over from the move are being taken care of. I think we'll be buying a new freezer soon, for example, as the old one keeps shocking me. Maintaining a house of six takes some effort.

I need to rent a trumpet for Sam, as that's his instrument of choice for his band class. We decided he should practice in the shed. The homework continues for the boy. Last night I went grocery shopping while talking him through his homework assignments via a bluetooth headset thingie. Eventually I made my way home, unloading food into the basement refrigerator, and he crawled in through his bedroom window.

Joanna and I are going swing dancing for a little tonight, after dinner and getting Sam started on homework. Should be fun.

Two Weekends, Two Parks

September 13, 2010 by Adam in Family

I put together a video of the last couple weekends. We have butterfly releases, dinner parties, a walk by the Willamette river, and the most recent trip to Mount Pisgah.

t of time was spent doing the normal household chores - laundry, making meals, shopping, and maintaining a family of four. The kids got along surprisingly well. Sam built a spaceship for Berry. Emma decided that she and Duncan were getting married. We all had a pretty good time. Joanna and I got to sneak out together for an hour on Friday night, leaving the babysitter with all the kids. When we returned, I saw Emma showing her Fred YouTube videos, so I assume all went well. I wish I had more time to work on the basement project. Still, it's great to have a kitchen sink that finally drains, the first time it's ever really been that way. We invited Sebastian over to play Settlers of Catan with Sam and I. Emma spent many hours dressing up Berry and putting makeup on her. Joanna got her hair cut and worked on a flier about meat. Though there seemed to be endless chores, I got to watch the finale of Sherlock and another episode of Chuck. Good times.

Medicinal Mocha Friday

September 10, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm nursing my mocha this morning, wrapping up the end of an occasionally overwhelming week. Getting all the kids into the new schedule, dealing with plumbing, work craziness, and some disagreements I'll be vague about are all contributing to feeling a little overwhelmed. Fortunately those blissful Mocha Molecules™ are unfurrowing my brow and easing my woes.

Sam had a full day of school yesterday, spending much of the morning in his home room. It's in the library, and he tried to describe all his classmates. There's Gus, his locker partner, assorted tall 8th grade girls, a cool 8th grade boy whose name I forget, and a few others. Sam got his classes too, including wood shop and band for his electives. I'm hoping the wood shop class means he can help build a porch for the shed. He generally seemed pretty positive about school, and was quite chatty about it. Hopefully his first day of classes today goes well.

I've been trying to make sure he has everything he needs. I paid $90 in fees and passed along another $18 for pictures today. He should have six months worth of lunches for $300. He's been walking with Sophia and Abagail, but may switch to Ben across the street come Monday.

We went around the table at dinner last night, asking everyone for cool stories from the day. Emma talked about the bunny at her school. Berry smiled and said hers was a secret. Duncan told of going on the playground with big kids and not being scared. Sam said he got a quarter, which was stolen, then retrieved. He ended up giving it to Duncan with only a little coaxing.

Last night we all went to a Roosevelt ice cream social, then ran around Amazon Park. Emma chased Joanna and tickled her. Sam chased Berry all around the play structure. Eventually we made it home and got everyone to bed. Sam did his usual stair stepping while watching Futurama, watched Scrubs, and I sent him to bed. I played Mass Effect 2 and Joanna continued her butterfly growing project. We all collapsed to bed early.

This morning was a bit of a madhouse, but we generally made it to school and work on time. It's clear we need a better routine, possibly with a series of alarms and timelines. Ah, the joys of schedules.

First Days of School

September 09, 2010 by Adam in Family

Everyone went to their first days of school yesterday. Duncan and Berry got dropped off at the Little French School. Jamie took Emma to Crest. I sent Sam up the hill to walk to Roosevelt, making sure he needed to leave when the big hand got to the three on an analog clock.

The little kids seemed to have fun at the Little French School, which is where Emma went before Crest. Berry was pretty tuckered out and took a nap for the first time in months. Unfortunately that meant she was up late last night, so I reminded her teacher to avoid naps in the future.

I talked to Emma briefly yesterday, and it sounds like her first day went well. She's coming to my house tonight, so hopefully I can grill her more.

Sam's advisor is Honore, the librarian. Ben was duly impressed, as she's supposedly very nice. I think it's awesome that his home room is the library. He liked hot lunch, which is one fewer thing to deal with. Mostly yesterday he met with his Web leaders, who are student advisors, and played assorted games in the gym. Today is also not a real school day, according to Sam. He's meeting his advisor, getting his locker, paying endless fees, and hopefully finding out what his classes are. Tomorrow is the first real day.

Joanna and I divided the kids up this morning as the shuttles weren't quite ready yet. I took a smiling Berry to school and went in to work. This afternoon I'm staying at home and supervising plumbers to finally fix the kitchen sink issue. Tonight is an ice cream social for Roosevelt. Busy, busy.

Laboring as Well

September 07, 2010 by Adam in Family

Joanna's putting Berry and Duncan to sleep.  Sam and Emma are off at Jamie's.  I'm winding down a full and busy weekend, thinking about all the things I've yet to do.

Friday Joanna and I went to listen to Yayoe play Ukulele, eating ice cream and nibbling on Market of Choice deli food.  We snuck briefly into a hair supply place to pick up some red hair color.  The night was warm and wonderful and Yayoe and her band were great as always.

Saturday morning I picked up Sam and Emma and fed everyone a hearty breakfast.  Joanna began making peach jam, which ended up continuing into the afternoon while kids played and carried on.  Emma, Berry, and Duncan set up camp in the basement.  Sam watched Scrubs.  After the last of the jam was canned, we headed to the library for a brief outing.  That night Sam and I finished Eagle Eye, continuing the movie that had been filled with car crashes and continued to do so until the end.

Sunday we tried normal pancakes by Sam's request, as evidently the endless crepes were getting tiresome.  Sam, Emma, and I went for a bike ride while everyone else went to church.  After lunch we had a big family outing to the river path, running into Jamie, M, and Chase out of the blue.  Everyone's favorite sport seemed to be throwing rocks into the river.  I personally liked the rose gardens, with the endless roses whose smell reminds me of Fruit Loops.  Sam, Joanna, and I watched Sherlock that night, a modern retelling of Sherlock Holmes, which I thought quite good.

Jamie picked up Sam and Emma late morning to go to Dave's for a Labor Day BBQ.  We hit up Target for school supplies and I tore down drywall in the basement to get ready for the plumbers.  It's messy work, but hopefully will save me some of the thousands the contractor would have charged.

Emma has her ice cream social tomorrow at four, and Berry and Duncan have similar school events.  Sam starts Wednesday at Roosevelt.  Soon the new routine will be upon us.

Glad I'm Not Eaten

September 04, 2010 by Adam in Family

Joanna and I went for a nice hike around the trails near the hospital.  It was a bit of an adventure, and the trail near the river faded to deer trails and tall grasses.  There had been cougar sightings, so every little noise made Joanna jump a bit.  I joked around, and was somewhat cavalier about it.

We'd been hiking for 45 minutes, trying to figure out how to get back to the hospital, when Joanna announced "I see cat ears in the river."  I thought it might be nutria, a rather large rat-like thing, and we continued on.  Within a minute, we heard a deep growling/coughing noise and immediately decided to slowly backtrack and head inland.

We got a little giddy on the way back once we reached the big field next to the hospital.  All the people in the gym thought we were pretty awesome for having seen one of the mythical cougars.  I think we'll stick to exercising in the gym next week.


Sweet Mocha Friday

September 03, 2010 by Adam in Family

For some reason I woke up at 5:30 a.m., convinced Joanna that getting out of bed was a fine idea, and everyone got to school and work when they were supposed to. Dishes were done, laundry was folded, and the kitchen was cleaned up. Of course, today is the last day of summer school, but it's nice to know that we finally figured out the routine. Last night was busy. I got to say hello to Emma when we returned, who was playing with Berry and Duncan, as well as catching ladybugs. My mom very nicely cleaned and organized Emma's bedroom. The rest of the evening was fairly frantic. I helped Collette put up curtain rods and a couple other things. Then it was off to food shopping, where I somehow managed to get it all in one cart. Returning home, Joanna and I collapsed on the couch to fold laundry and watch Chuck. We also delivered the "sorry I backed into your car" pie to the neighbors, who were quite appreciative. The plumbing issue has turned into a confusing, expensive mess that I'm trying to sort out. Insurance will pay for replacing the ceiling, but not the plumbing. The contractor already charged me $900 to open up the ceiling, and the plumber charged another $600 for the less-than-satisfactory emergency repair. I'm getting a check from the insurance and my hope is that I can somehow do a bunch of the work myself and it won't be quite as crazy expensive as it is. I'm getting a plumbing estimate today, and maybe Monday I'll start cutting holes in walls. There are countless other things to do, such as taking old TVs to be recycled, and selling the Subaru. The sprinkler system is still not working. Still, things are getting done and taken care of. Most of the driveway is empty, and Joanna's office is unpacked. We saved all the bubble wrap and let Berry and Duncan jump up and down on them. Sam and Emma have school supplies and clothes for school. Life is slowly getting organized. My morning mocha was delicious, as always. Tonight Joanna and I are going to watch Yayoe play the ukelele. This weekend the plan is to hang out and get ready for school, perhaps with a berry-picking trip in the middle. Sunday night is the big family dinner. I'm looking forward to seeing my dad after his death-defying open ocean race.

Morning Eggs

September 01, 2010 by Adam in Family

This morning Emma directed Duncan and Berry to fetch her herbs from the window box, and cooked herself scrambled eggs for breakfast. Everyone had great fun, and Emma extracted promises that they would come stay with her when she moved to Italy as an adult.

Yesterday was fairly remarkable, in odd little ways. The old pipe from the kitchen sink burst last week, after the plumber drilled through it while cleaning it. At the moment that part of the basement has the ceiling removed and there's a temporary pipe that lets us use the kitchen sink. Fortunately insurance is going to pay for all but the deductible, so I think I'll be stuck with a little over a thousand in damages. That's strangely the good news, as otherwise it would be over three thousand.

Jamie and I also appear to have reached an agreement on spousal support. I think that means that we can finally get something written up and signed relatively soon. The next few years will be tight financially, so I'm hoping no more pipes burst until then.

I've arranged for Sam to walk to Roosevelt with a couple girls from the neighborhood. Hopefully that'll increase his street cred, or at least minimize the chances he gets lost. Sophia used to go to school with Sam, so it'll be good that he has a familiar face with him.

In terms of Joanna and I, I think we're spending our hot date night at home, replacing car batteries, getting ready to make peach jam, and unpacking the office. Good times.

Parades and Beaches

August 30, 2010 by Adam in Family

We had a very exciting weekend, all around. Friday night Joanna and I headed down to the Eugene Celebration for music, food, and a horde of people dressed in interesting costumes. Days later, Joanna brought up the ice cream bar, dipped in chocolate and nuts. It was that good. Saturday I collected the kids, fed them crepes and bacon, and headed down to watch the parade. We lasted a reasonable length of time before the kids got restless and we dashed across the parade route to make it to the library. We stocked up on assorted books before making the long walk home. I ended up carrying Emma much of the way, along with the massive bin of books she begged me to take with her. The afternoon was fairly low-key. Joanna stepped out to get the reins of the Fox Hollow web site. I went to TrueValue after that and got the parts for the tire swing. Assembling it went surprisingly well, making our backyard even more of a playground/farm combo. I made dinner for everyone and their bottomless stomachs. I think I eventually got to sit down and have a bite after fetching butter, salt, more drinks, and a half-dozen other things. Sunday was our great expedition to the coast. The drive out went fairly well, with movie players for all. Sam got a little car sick, so we parked by the side of the road briefly to let him eat ginger candy while we picked blackberries. Soon we were on our way to Heceta Head. We got the perfect parking spot and picnic table. Immediately everyone rushed off to jump in the water. It was a perfect beach, with sea caves and a little stream to build forts upon. Sam and Emma got completely soaked and we were constantly getting people to change their clothes. The weather was beautiful and we played until late afternoon, stopping by Florence for dinner before heading home. We're in the final week before school starts. We have another grand school supply shopping trip, and Sam should get a bunch of clothes arriving magically in the mail thanks to Joanna. I'm starting to get excited for the fall to start in earnest.

Mocha Friday

August 27, 2010 by Adam in Family

My morning mocha is a distant, sweet memory. I'm busy writing arcane code and enjoying the caffeine bubbling through my veins.

I scooped up Sam and Emma from my mom's house yesterday. Emma proudly showed off her training bra, which evidently got handed down to her from Natalie. I'm a little fuzzy about these things, but I'm not sure several years of training are really necessary. What do I know, though? I had a conversation with Sam about when he'll start shaving last night. It's amazing how quickly they grow.

In any case, it was fun having everyone running around, playing and chatting. We had mac and cheese, followed by ice cream cones. Sam and Emma both gave Berry a final push on the swing before leaving.

Next up was a meeting between Jamie, Sam, Emma, and myself. Jamie had suggested some changes to the kid schedule for school, and we walked through it with everyone to make sure it was generally agreeable. The new plan is that Sam will be at my house Saturday night through Friday afternoon. Emma will be here Thursday afternoon through Monday morning. Jamie plans to take Emma to school and watch her most afternoons, which I very much appreciate. Thursday afternoon she'll hang out at my house with Collette, Berry, and Duncan. Sam will walk or bike to Roosevelt each day. It's a big change, especially for Sam. I figure we'll see how it goes and adjust as needed.

I left Jamie's house and went food shopping. I borrowed a bluetooth headset from Joanna and Sam chatted with me on the phone as I shopped for an hour. It's gotten to the point where I need two shopping carts to bring all the food home. We arranged buckets under the basement drips that appeared after the plumber's visit on Wednesday, folded laundry, and finished watching Up in the Air.

This morning we got Berry and Duncan to school and tonight Joanna and I plan to walk down to the Eugene Celebration. Duncan's really excited about having the babysitter come over. Tomorrow the plan is to watch the parade in the morning, along with a library trip. Sunday is our grand Florence expedition. Life's good.

Blackberry Picking

August 26, 2010 by Adam in Family

Joanna and I try hard to get out together once or twice each week. Last night we'd planned on going blackberry picking and then watch Up in the Air on a laptop in the back of the minivan, parking somewhere pretty. We ate eggs on the patio with Berry, Duncan, and Collette, bid them farewell, and drove up to Crest drive to pick blackberries.

It was grand, painful fun. We ended up with a couple big tubs of berries, and scratched and bleeding legs and arms. The weather was beautiful, and I had to pull Joanna away as the sun set. Since it was so late, we ended up going straight home. We put on the movie, I folded clothes, and Joanna kept crocheting her blanket. It was a great movie, and I'm eager to finish after we had to cut it short due to lateness.

This morning we only had two kids, with a bit of Tears of Suffering from both Berry and Duncan. I had to break out the silly humor and voices on the drive to school. For some reason, expressing my longing for a magical pony got them giggling and cheerful once again.

Tonight I'm going home for dinner, talking with Jamie and the kids about the new school schedule, and wrapping up the night with food shopping. Life's busy, but good.

Back to Work

August 23, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm in the third meeting of the day, and it's not yet noon. Ah, the joys of the business world. We had a pleasant weekend all around, relatively low key and full of kids. Saturday morning was our typical library run, bringing home assorted goodies for all. Sam turned out to really love Foxtrot, which he read pretty consistently all weekend. Emma tried to take home 5 Guinness Book of World Records books, which I paired down to 2. We stuffed kids full of food and puttered about, putting in some more work getting things put away. After that was a Target run and Jordan's birthday. We loaded up the minivan and spent the remainder of the afternoon swimming, hot tubbing, jumping on a trampoline, and eating lots of food. We returned home, got kids to bed, and wrapped up the day. Joanna kept working on a nightgown for Emma. I fiddled with my computer. The next morning we had crepes and blueberry pancakes, a welcome part of the weekend routine. More unpacking occurred while kids played. I fixed Joanna's old computer and set it up for Duncan. Art work was hung on walls. We went to a church picnic at noon. Emma got her face painted with flowers and sparkles. Sam indulged in hot dogs and chased Duncan about. Berry and Duncan reveled in the playground at Tugman Park. The afternoon continued house projects and play. The kids had quiet time, and Joanna ran off to buy some more shelves for her office. We rode bikes down to the park, Sam pushing Berry and me holding Emma. Duncan was less than enthusiastic about bike riding, and soon everyone was playing on the cheese or in the sand. Everyone was surprisingly cheerful and played well together, with even Sam getting in on the action. The night wrapped up with tacos and everyone going to bed early, even Sam. There may be some changes to the kids schedule coming up. Jamie suggested some changes as school approaches quickly. Jamie, the kids, and I are getting together to chat soon, and hopefully get things finalized soon. It's hard to believe that there are only two and a half weeks until things change yet again.

The Weekend Fun Begins

August 21, 2010 by Adam in Family

Sam and Emma have arrived, and I'm cooking up crepes for a traditional tasty breakfast.  Emma's eating zucchini from the garden which Joanna just picked.  It's nice having all the kids about.

Last night we took Berry and Duncan swimming, where they had a really good time.  It's neat seeing them get increasingly confident in the water, and with their floaties they roamed about the pool by themselves.

It's nearly breakfast time, and then we're off to the library.

Sweet Mocha Friday

August 20, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm wearing the Superman shirt Joanna got me, and working away at my morning mocha.  Life continues to be busy, but satisfying.  We're slowly dealing with all the little aspects of moving in together.  I'm hoping to get our donation pile moved from our driveway soon, and we have someone interested in buying the Subaru.

Wednesday night Joanna and I went out to the Em's game, which was surprisingly fun and different.  Joanna quizzed me on the rules, and then comically cheered for our team while politely encouraging the visitors when they did well.  We were up in one of the suites, served traditional American food, and had fun mocking the terrible puppet show they snuck between innings.  We headed home early, after it was clear the game would go on pretty late.

Last night after work, Sam, Emma, and Josh were running around in the backyard, as Jamie was working and my mom was doing some event at the Fairgrounds.  I taught Sam how to jump a car, as the Subaru battery had died from disuse, and we had to show it off that night.  He also rolled the free tire we got on craigslist into the backyard.  Hopefully I can get it hooked up this weekend.

I went out food shopping after dinner while Joanna got kids to bed.  It's amazing how much food I buy these days, and I ended up using two shopping carts to return to the car.  I returned home, and we cleaned the kitchen and did the dishes.  Joanna and I collapsed on the couch and watch an episode of Chuck.

We have a fairly busy weekend ahead, with picnics, birthday parties, and house projects.  It's getting towards the time of week when I start missing the kids again, so it'll be nice to see them tomorrow.

Midweek Fun

August 18, 2010 by Adam in Family

The week has been moving along nicely, uneventful and pleasant. The summer routine has involved Josh watching Sam and Emma Monday and Wednesday, my mom Thursday afternoon, and Jamie the rest of the times. For Berry and Duncan, they're home a little after noon, with Collette keeping an eye on them and sometimes taking them places. Emma often plays with them when they're about, leaving Josh and Sam to do more boyish things.

It's strange thinking that this is only the second week with everyone under the same roof, as it seems like much longer. We haven't had any huge traumas, other than the usual middle-of-the-night excitement. Last night Berry came upstairs to scream outside our door. Joanna got her back to sleep and I got Emma back to sleep. Another time there was sheet changing. Usually our nights are fairly restful and the kids are more polite than not. It's certainly busy, but never boring and often fun.

Jamie came by to drop the kids off last night, and we have the school schedule generally planned out. She's free to pick Emma up after school and watch her in the afternoons. The plan with Sam is to drop him off at my house the mornings Jamie has him, and have him walk or ride his bike back to my house in the afternoon. Jamie also expressed an interest in having just one kid from time to time. Otherwise I think we're going to keep the sleep over schedule the same.

Jamie and Joanna also had a very nice chat in the kitchen while Emma and I watered. I'm glad they're able to get along so well, and all us grown-ups can focus on raising good kids.

Tonight Joanna and I are off to the first of the Em's games in the new stadium. I've never had box seats before, and they're feeding us. It's with a bunch of marketing people, and fortunately I've watched a lot of Mad Men to prepare. I better start drinking whiskey now, followed by smoking and womanizing. Can't wait!

Libraries, Parks, and Home

August 16, 2010 by Adam in Family

It was a full weekend with the kids, starting on Friday night and picking up Sam and Emma from Jamie's house.  Collette stayed over for dinner, and Keyana came to babysit Berry and Duncan for a dry run while we were there.  I think we managed a two minute snog in the shed, but otherwise ran around.

Saturday was surprisingly busy for Joanna.  I made my usual massive breakfast of crepes, whip cream, and bacon.  Joanna and I had gluten-free pancakes.  We took the younger kids to the library and a snack afterward.  Duncan brought home a bee puppet and endless Dora books.  I found a book for Sam and the Bloody Jack sequel on CD.  We worked our way home and then Joanna took her kids off to a birthday party at Skate World. 

Sam and I worked hard to finish our zombie game, finally finishing later that night.  I had to take a break in the middle and made Sam exercise.  He opted for stair stepping to Futurama, which has become his favorite option.  Emma went down the slip-n-slide and played in the kiddie pool.  Once Berry and Duncan arrived, they ended up joining her until dinner.

I opted for waffles on Sunday, which weren't as popular, but the sausage was a hit.  Joanna took her kids to church.  I stained the bookshelves we bought, and put Sam to work cutting wood and drilling holes for the future tire swing.  Emma and I hung out in the shed, and generally puttered about.  Joanna left me in charge of all four kids while she helped move a desk for her mom.  Fortunately everyone was well behaved and I stuffed them full of eggs for lunch.

We loaded everyone up in the minivan for a test run to Amazon park.  It was generally successful and the park itself went over well.  Even Sam got into the merry-go-round and climbing structures.  Eventually we loaded everyone back into the Sienna and went home to a couple hours of quiet time.  The Incredible Mister Fox was playing, and I watched the first bit and found it great.  Sadly work called me away and I was hanging curtain rods and putting up new curtains in Emma's room.

We had our first family dinner, with John, Yayoe, and Collette as guests.  There was tons of food, and the chocolate mousse was amazing for dessert.  Joanna and Yayoe broke out instruments and played music together for awhile, and it was off to bed for Emma.  Now it's time for bed myself.

Sweet Mocha Friday

August 13, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's another beautiful Friday in Eugene. I love the warm summer air and opening up the house in the morning to let in the breeze. It promises to be hot again this weekend, so maybe I'll break out the slip-and-slide and hose kids down.

Life continues to move along. We're working on selling the Subaru, and getting used to driving the minivan. I have a sprinkler guy looking at our sprinkler system on Monday after the burst pipe and flooding of last week. We picked up an unfinished bookcase yesterday off craigslist. The plan is to sand and stain it sometime this weekend. The garden is growing massive. Chickens are happily producing eggs.

I'm picking up Sam and Emma tonight, and Joanna has promised authentic bangers and mash for dinner. I have "The Fantastic Mr. Fox" from Netflix waiting to be watched. Tomorrow we'll make a library run and Joanna is taking Berry and Duncan to assorted play dates and birthday parties. Sam has virtually begged me to finish our zombie game we're playing together. Emma just likes to hang out and play together. Maybe we can do some bike riding practice.

I think we'll do a short family trip in the minivan to Amazon Park. We'll work our way up to epic vacations. Now that we've finished Glee, Sam, Joanna, and I need to decide on our next show to watch. Chuck has been suggested, and Sam wants to watch The Colony.

Having Berry and Duncan about is reminiscent of Sam and Emma when they were little. Last night was a bit rough, with the usual testing of boundaries. I think having little sisters and kids of my own has helped immensely. I'm able to laugh at the absurdity, and reassure Joanna that it gets better. I pushed my food shopping until after the kids were in bed, getting a text message informing me that Joanna was going to finish baking and then join the circus. Fortunately everyone was cheerful in the morning.

The Mystery Machine

August 11, 2010 by Adam in Family

When Joanna and I went shopping for minivans, "anything but white" was one of the criteria. Now that we own a white minivan, she decided to spruce it up and ordered a bunch of flower magnets. Last night we had the kids put them on. This morning Joanna and I discussed which of the kids mapped to which Scooby Doo characters. Somehow we ended up as the dogs.

Berry and Duncan have been back for a couple days now, settling into their new bedrooms. It's actually gone amazingly smoothly. The little kids were up several times during the first night. Last night everyone slept really well, and Berry was our six o'clock alarm.

There have been some comedic moments, such as when I left for work yesterday, leaving Jamie, Joanna, and all the kids running about. Fortunately everyone is polite and cordial. Emma seems to like having more people to play with, cheerfully helping push Berry and Duncan yesterday. Sam is his usual cheerful self, and we had a good time watching the Glee finale last night.

This morning we took Berry and Duncan to their new school. They're off taking a tour of the Natural Science Museum. Josh is watching Sam and Emma, hopefully getting them to the park or outside at least for a little while. Everyone will converge on the house this afternoon, and Jamie picks them up tonight. There's a lot of shuffling around, but everyone seems to be okay with things.

I'm not quite sure what we're doing tonight. Joanna probably should go to bed early, and there continue to be endless things to unpack. Tomorrow I'll likely go shopping. Friday night I have the kids. Life's good.

Another Quiet Weekend

August 09, 2010 by Adam in Family

I kissed Joanna farewell Friday night and sent her off on her trip to return with Berry and Duncan. I've been following her adventures in Rochester, and got word this morning that she picked up her monkeys safe and sound. She's off on a play date this morning, and then begins the long flight back, returning around ten o'clock tonight.

My dad came over and we chatted for a long time on Friday. He wanted to go over his will as a precaution before racing speedboats around the English Channel. Fortunately we also talked about more entertaining subjects. I wrapped up the evening cleaning the Subaru and listening to Bloody Jack.

The next morning my cleaning and unpacking frenzy continued. The kids arrived, and we began our low-key weekend together. Emma and I went to the library. Sam and I figured out how to hook up the bike trailer and we carried Emma to Amazon Park, having far too much fun on the merry-go-round. I continued to unpack and do house chores. Later that night Sam and I watched Moon, which he declared the best movie he'd seen of that genre.

The next morning we had crepes, whip cream, and sausages. I puttered in the garden, planting peas and giving everything a good water. I declared a screen-free afternoon. Sam vanished and I later found him reading Calvin and Hobbes in the shed. Emma and I lay in the hammock and played with the real version of Hobbes. I put the kids to work patching an inflatible mattress and moving boxes.

That night we walked over to my mom's house, eating dinner with the usual suspects. Anna was in town, and she and Collette chatted away in French. Sam was pressed into present wrapping. Emma was her usual cute self.

Sam woke up before me this morning, so he'll probably be exhausted tonight. Emma was a little sniffly, but much improved from last week. I left them in the care of Josh, with a long list of chores they could do.

Empty Bedrooms

August 06, 2010 by Adam in Family

Berry and Duncan's bedrooms are finally looking ready for occupancy.  We were moving things around and I had to stop for a moment and look about.  Duncan's bedroom seemed so cheerful and full of promise.  It made me want to be a little boy again.

Sam called last night while we were packing and moving, so we chatted for nearly an hour.  He's excited to come home, which was heartening.  Emma was up late, chasing Sam around the yard.  Evidently she was sick yesterday and napped for three hours.  Hopefully I can get her to bed at a reasonable hour Saturday night.

I also cleaned up the minivan last night, discovering all manner of interesting goodies.  There's a power plug-in in the back, which I can see powering video players and the like on long trips.  I was impressed at the amount of leg room everyone will have, and all the bottle holders and cubbies scattered around.  The ash tray in the back is a bit odd.  I'm not quite sure what to do with that.

Joanna's off tonight to fetch children from afar, leaving me to go grocery shopping for the upcoming horde of children in the week ahead.  I'm hoping to clean the Subaru this weekend and get it ready to sell.  Maybe Sam and I can put up the climbing wall this weekend too.

I look forward to Monday, which has the feel of a new beginning.

Oh, and that mocha?  It was delicious, as always.

Another Day, Another Flood

August 05, 2010 by Adam in Family

I finished a medicinal mocha this morning, at Joanna's insistence. I woke up with a mild headache and it didn't take much prompting from her to grab one on our way in. Emma's been under the weather for a few days, so she probably passed it to me in one of her kisses, my favorite disease vector.

I went home a little early yesterday, working from home for an hour. Emma sat on my lap and listened to my meeting with me, while Josh and Sam played some zombie boardgame. Eventually Jamie came to collect them and I got dinner ready.

Joanna and I downed some tasty soup, helped Joanna's mom fix her bed and put up curtains, and picked up a new minivan battery at Costco. Exhausted, we settled down to watch the Hot Tub Time Machine. Fortunately the movie was really bad and we stopped early, as we noticed the quiet evening was broken by the sound of rushing water.

Soon enough we found the back stairwell full of water, jets of water streaming in from the concrete walls. Evidently the sprinkler system had broken again and was flooding everything. I immediately shut off the sprinkler system and started bailing out water. Joanna ran down to the basement and started mopping. Even with the water off, it took a good twenty minutes before the water stopped pouring in. After a few rounds of giddy laughter, we went to bed and collapsed.

This morning Joanna drove the minivan to work in preparation for taking it to Portland tomorrow. Tonight she'll pack and get everything ready. I'll be working on the endless list of tasks, from getting the Subaru ready to sell, to trying to unpack a little more. Even though I know it'll raise the chaos level of the house, I look forward to getting everyone home on Monday. It'll be nice to get everyone settled in a more permanent arrangement.

Braidy Bunch Mobile

August 02, 2010 by Adam in Family

Blood was spilled.  Minivans didn't start.  It was epic.

Let me start from the beginning, though.  Joanna and I reached the conclusion that we had to get a minivan to move 6 people from place to place.  Driving two cars was wasteful and annoying.  Now that we're officially all living together, it was time to take the plunge.  We checked our bank accounts and decided we could just swing it, meeting our financial obligations if we were fairly conservative with our purchase.

Scouring craigslist, we looked at a couple 1999 Siennas.  One was okay, a little expensive, but Joanna had a bad feeling about it and we passed.  I had my phone checking craigslist for me, and it found one Sunday morning while we were off shopping.  After a missed attempt, we got in touch with the owner, negotiated it down a little, checked Carfax and the blue book value over the phone, and agreed to buy it.

This morning I drove to pick up cash, dropped off my car, rode my bike over, made the deal, and cut my finger loading my bike in the back.  I sat down, ready to go, and the car wouldn't start.  After getting the now-previous owner, both of us cursing, and finding jumper cables, we managed to start it and I drove it around.  Later I realized that a seatbelt had gotten stuck in the power door when we test drove it, and the battery ran down overnight.

Regardless, we're now the proud owners of a white 2000 Sienna minivan.  Hopefully it does what we need it to.  Suggestions on nicknames are welcome.

Other than that excitement, we had a generally good weekend.  I picked up the kids Friday night.  The house continues to get unpacked, and Berry and Duncan's rooms are coming together nicely.  The pile of things to give away grows in our driveway.  I got to fight zombies with Sam and swing and eat popcicles with Emma.  Glee was watched.  School supplies were purchased.  Emma loves having a cat.  Having Joanna around is ten different kinds of wonderful.  It was surprisingly fun to get the house put together and everyone settled.

Joanna's leaving for Rochester on Friday, returning with Berry and Duncan on Monday.  Josh is watching Sam and Emma today, working at my mom's for part of it.  Only a little over a month of Summer to go, and then we're into the school schedule again.  I'll try to enjoy the lazy Summer days while I can.

Mocha Friday

July 30, 2010 by Adam in Family

I just finished the last of my mocha, that delicious elixir perking me up for a day of coding fun.  I get to see Sam and Emma tonight, after a week away.  Joanna's been dreaming of being pregnant in high school, which she decided was a symptom of Glee withdrawl.  Hopefully we can remedy that tonight.

The unpacking and settling in continue.  I bartered with Todd across the street to help move couches in exchange for grape jam.  The kitchen feels fairly well put together, and last night I assembled the guest bed in the shed.  Joanna's cat Hobbs is making friends with the neighbors.  Collette is still staying with us through tonight, but her apartment should be ready to sleep in tonight.

The basement and garage are still filled with boxes, but we continue to slowly move things to where they're supposed to be.  Joanna and I simulaneously came to the conclusion that we have to have a minivan soon, so we're busy looking at Odysseys and Siennas all over the place.  There's simply no other way to transport four kids from place to place.

Life's a little chaotic, but good as well.  The house will soon be full of activity and kids and excitement relatively soon.


Vacations and More Moving

July 27, 2010 by Adam in Family

All the moving is done now.

At least, that's the theory. Tonight we're making a final drive down to Creswell to pack up the cleaning supplies and clean anything that remains dirty. Hopefully it won't take too long, but so far my estimates have been sorely optimistic.

Joanna and I had a lovely time at Eagle Rock Lodge. We drove along one road near where Sam and I went hiking early this year. Once we found the lodge and toured the grounds, I immediately recognized the big Eagle Rock that Sam and I rafted past just a couple weeks ago. Our room was bedecked with fishing decor, strangely charming. We fell asleep in the hammock by the river, waking to the sound of screaming teenagers as they rafted past.

The next day we drove over to Sahalie Falls and enjoyed the scenery, before sadly returning to Eugene to pick up the U-Haul. From that point on, it was lots of loading and unloading, without the help of two strapping young lads to help out like last time. Sometime around eight o'clock I unloaded the last box, swept the truck, and Joanna drove it back. The garage and play room is a maze of boxes, calling out to be unpacked and put away. Joanna's mom is staying another night or two as her apartment isn't quite ready for her. The plan is to get the common areas in order before digging into the piles of boxes stored below.

Still, it feels great to have it finally done. Life feels like it's moving on.

Five Days without Children

July 25, 2010 by Adam in Family

I picked up Sam and Emma yesterday morning and we had a pleasant, low-key day of hanging about the house and getting used to the changes.  Emma thinks Hobbes is pretty awesome, and spent much of the time petting her and hanging out.  Of course, being a cat, it does make it hard to join in the fun with my allergies.  I managed to sneak down for fifteen minute stretches to visit.

Joanna had to work for most of the afternoon, so the kids and I hung out until four o'clock.  We visited Jenny and her boys for a birthday BBQ.  The kids and I swam, hot tubbed, and jumped on the trampoline.  After having a good time, we returned home to get Emma to bed, and Sam and I stayed up late fighting zombies together on the computer.

This morning was our traditional crepes and whip cream breakfast (along with sausages, gluten-free pancakes, and hot chocolate).  Hopefully that'll fortify everyone for the week ahead.  Jamie left, taking the kids.  Collette and Joanna returned to Creswell for last-minute necessities.  I made a big salad using greens from the garden.  Now I'm just waiting for Joanna to return before we sneak away for an evening together.

Tomorrow we're renting another U-Haul to pick up the rest of the things at Creswell.  Hopefully it won't take too long.  The rest of the week will be unpacking and organizing, with my kids returning Friday.  I like how the house is slowly coming together.  After the Death Swing broke, we were down to two swings.  My playground equipment package arrived and I replaced it with a real swing yesterday.

I think I'll enjoy my brief time in a quiet house, perhaps mend a pillow or nibble on fruit.



July 24, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm exhausted, nearly twelve hours of hauling Joanna, Duncan, Berry, and Collette's things from their Creswell house to Collette's new apartment and my house.  Collette is folding laundry and keeping an eye on Hobbes.  Joanna is upstairs soaking.  I should probably eat food and consider sleeping, but I'm in a bit of a daze.

The morning started wonderfully, waking up with no children in the house and no where we needed to be at the crack of dawn.  We langorously arose and met up with my mom at the Glenwood for her birthday.  There was a little present and we coaxed our waiter to light a single candle we put in her oatmeal.  Songs were sung.  Wishes were made.

Next was getting the U-Haul and getting Richard and Miguel to help move.  They were amazing and it would have simply been impossible to move without them.  Next followed the usual packing, moving, taping, swearing, and eventually getting everything to their appropriate places.  Obstacles were overcome.  Scrapes were had.  Bodies were exhausted.

I managed a little Skype with Emma, who seems to miss me terribly.  I look forward to seeing her tomorrow morning bright and early.  It's going to be really weird not seeing them until the following Friday.  From a practical standpoint, we have lots of work unpacking left.  Still, I miss them already.

Time to ponder going to bed and maybe eating an apple or two or ten.  I'm exhausted.



July 22, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's been a busy week for me, so much so that I've forgotten to post for awhile.

Joanna saw her kids off to Rochester, where they've been occasionally webcamming.  It's strange not having Berry and Duncan about, with certainly less giggling in the household.  Joanna's essentially moved in at this point, though her funiture and such remains in Creswell until tomorrow.  I'm celebrating mom's birthday by taking her out to breakfast, followed by hours of moving heavy things around.

We had a moment of panic when Collette's first apartment fell through, but fortunately another magically appeared just a few blocks away from my mom's house.  It'll be nice having everyone so close, and should make hauling kids about much easier.

Sam and Emma seem in good spirits, enjoying hanging out with Josh Monday and Wednesday of this week.  Part of the time they worked for my mom, with Sam paying off his debt he used to buy me a birthday present.  The Death Swing broke, so I bought a real one, along with some climbing holds to attach to the shed to make a climbing wall.  Emma continues loving the chickens and eating snap peas from the garden.  My mobile phone awesomeness paid off when I got a two-for-one deal at Ben and Jerry's with my Foursquare prowess.

Last night and tonight we'll be packing more boxes in Creswell, with a small break for a counseling session tonight.  I think we're going to sneak away some time this weekend to celebrate being child-free for the first time in ages.  After that, it's a week of unpacking when Jamie takes the kids to Bend for the week.

Birthday Boy

July 19, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's my birthday today, and had a lovely weekend full of food, family, and chasing children. Joanna made a gluten-free version of my favorite potato cake, which turned out delicious. Chickens arrived, much to Emma's amusement. Saturday I scooped up the kids from Jamie's house and the kids immediately made me open their birthday presents. Sam had bought me a Starbuck's gift certificate and Emma wrote out various coupons to do the dishes or play with her. Joanna and her kids arrived at noon, along with chickens. We played and baked cake and got ready for the evening potluck. The kids watched Princess and the Frog via Netflix, which is looking to be a pretty cool service for $9 per month. Eventually my family began wandering in and we ate and chatted and played some more. Eventually everyone got to sleep and Joanna, Sam, and I watched Glee. Sunday was our usual hearty breakfast, followed by Joanna, Duncan, and Berry going off to church. Emma wanted to hang out with my mom, so Sam and I got some rare time together to go for a bike ride. He was tentative at first, but eventually got pretty comfortable. We went to Roosevelt to get used to the ride, stopped by Starbucks to cash in his birthday present, and returned books to the library. Once everyone returned, there was another round of eating and playing. I bid farewell to Berry and Duncan, as they left for Rochester this morning to spend time with thier dad. The rest of the afternoon was pretty lazy, working on chores and going on a trip to the park with the kids to frisbee and eat sour cherries. It promises to be an exciting week. Joanna and her mom are spending the next few days packing, and Friday we move. I'm having a birthday breakfast with my mom, followed by renting a van and moving things around. This Sunday Sam and Emma are off to Bend for a week, so it's going to be strangely quiet for awhile. Life's good.

Sweet Mocha Friday

July 16, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's a pleasant Mocha Friday, made all the sweeter by my barrista upgrading my beverage after  hearing about my upcoming birthday.

I don't have any exciting news from the last couple days.  I picked up some fencing from True Value to stick to the bottom of the chicken tractor after work, and then had dinner at Joanna's house.  We watched an episode of the $100 home makeover show that had one of her friends in it.  I think I managed to sleep over nine hours last night, which was truly remarkable.

This weekend should be fun, with birthdays and moving chickens.

Rafting the McKenzie

July 15, 2010 by Adam in Family

I had a pretty amazing day yesterday. It was Isa's last day, so I stuffed the kids full of crepes, whip cream, and sausages. I sent them all outside to play, doing a bit of clean up work in the garden while they skateboarded and swung. After packing for the trip, my mom treated the kids at Metropol and I got a haircut. Finally we drove past Vida, met up with our guides, and took a shuttle to Finn Rock to start our rafting adventure. My dad, Destin, Jordan, Isa, Sam, Emma, and myself all went along. Emma and I were in one raft with some others, while the rest of the crew took the second raft. Emma was pretty tired, having got up at four in the morning (she shared a bed with Isa, which evidently didn't go well). Fortunately the cold water and rapids perked her up and she was smiling and jumping in the water. The other raft was only visible a few times, when we got close enough for squirt gun fights. They seemed to be having a good time, though. Our guides had a constant banter going, as one of them was the daughter of the woman who owned the rafting company. Eventually we returned home wet, tired, and happy. I got the kids off to Jamie's in time for Josh's birthday party. I went for dinner at Joanna's, and then off to swing dancing. I still feel like a novice compared to most people there, but we had a great time moving about to old sultry tunes. Two more days of work and then it's my birthday weekend. Lots of changes with Berry and Duncan visiting their dad, Joanna's brother and nephew heading home, and Joanna beginning the moving in process. The plan is to move Joanna and her mom on the 23rd, and if anyone wants to come along to provide moral support, they're much appreciated.

Summertime Fun

July 13, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's been an exciting three-day weekend.  I had the kids on Friday, so Joanna and I spent our date night making Duncan's birthday cake.  It turned out really well, and since it was in the shape of Dora, it was a huge hit.  There was Glee watching later, much to Sam, Joanna, and my amusement.

Saturday morning the kids and I hung about, with Emma joining me for a library run.  Joanna and crew joined us for lunch.  I helped entertain everyone while Joanna took a short nap.  Emma started talking with an English accent around Christopher again.  As three o'clock rolled around, a horde of small children descended on us.  It was madness, but the birthday boy had a good time.  After everyone left, we played with water balloons and had a good time.

Sunday Joanna and her kids went to the country fair.  I had planned on going, but Emma backed out, and I regretfully decided to stay.  The rest of the morning I moped about and did chores.  The house ended up spotless, though I still wish I'd gone.  Eventually they returned, packed up, and headed home.

Isabell has been a wonderful house guest, and Emma has loved having her around.  We got into a huge water balloon fight with the neighbors and everyone got soaked.  Today the girls tried on clothes, made music videos, and used the backyard swing.

I took Sam to the doctor for his physical today.  He's completely massive.  Later we got him new pants and he wears a size sixteen.  We visited Joanna and work before heading to Splash for exhausting wave fun.  It turns out Emma really likes the water slide.  Eventually we went home for chores, play, and relaxation.

Sweet Mocha Friday

July 09, 2010 by Adam in Family

I've downed the last of my delicious Friday mocha and am now munching on peas from our garden, picked fresh last night. It's amazing just how good they taste in comparison to buying peas from the store, shipped from countries unknown. It's nice having vegetables year-round, but nothing beats local produce.

Wednesday night Joanna and I went out to song circle, singing in the forest with a group of now-familiar aging folk song enthusiasts. There were several Beatles songs in honor of Ringo Starr's 70th birthday. Thursday was my errand day. I went grocery shopping after work, coming home to give all my plants a good soak after a couple days in the 90s. The blueberries are getting tasty, and I have enough greens to make salad for weeks. I had a nice long webcam with Sam, where we chatted about him finishing his Mass Effect game, and he recommended online videos. Poor Emma had a headache and was under the weather.

I'm picking up the kids tonight from Dave's house, as Jamie's going to the beach again. I've promised Sam an episode of Glee, which he's excited for, not to mention starting Mass Effect 2. Tomorrow is Duncan's birthday, so it's a cake making date night for Joanna and I. On Sunday we're off to the country fair to watch naked people in body paint dance about. Good times.

If A Tree Falls On An Office Building, and No One's Around

July 07, 2010 by Adam in Family

Jamie got a note from John, letting her know that a tree fell on the office. It doesn't look too bad from the picture, but maybe you should call when you get back into town.

Oh, and you're still good watching the kids tomorrow afternoon, mom? No rest for the weary. :) Welcome back.

4th of July Weekend

July 06, 2010 by Adam in Family

The weekend was a blur of people, food, and explosions, three days long and so full that I'm not quite sure where to start.

Assorted house projects were completed.  The rope ladder went up, a nice addition to the two swings.  There's a pretty dragonfly knocker on the shed now.  I mulched part of the front garden.  Peas and lettuce were picked.

Joanna and her family came over several times for food and hanging out.  Emma started talking with an English accent towards the end.  There was pizza and Mythbusters, lunches, and assorted hanging out.  Emma fed peas to Berry in the chicken tractor.  My dad visited for a long while on Saturday, which was nice.  It had been a long while since I'd seen him, so it felt good to get back in touch.

Sunday involved cooking hamburgers on the grill and setting off fireworks that night.  Emma stayed up until nearly ten, well past her normal bedtime.  This was the first year the fireworks seemed pretty exciting to her.  Sam opted out of watching fireworks from the balcony.  We looked out the window at people setting off big fireworks at Washington Park, but otherwise stayed inside.

On Monday, Sam went to his first archery class and generally seemed to enjoy it.  He ended up with a bit of a sunburn, so this morning the sunscreen was liberally applied.  He gets to actually shoot arrows this morning, which hopefully will make it even more exciting.

The next few weeks are getting increasingly challenging to plan.  There are birthdays, events, moves, visits, and all manner of things to schedule.  Seeing Isa again this Sunday will be nice.  Jamie asked if she could take the kids to the beach this weekend, which I'm still mulling over.  It's a little last minute and it means missing out on some planned things.  Hopefully I can talk to them tonight.

So, life feels busy and full.  It's exciting, and occasionally overwhelming.  In some ways it'll be nice to have things settle down a bit next month.

Mocha Friday

July 02, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's been another pleasant summer week, and a nice Mocha Friday in particular. Wednesday Joanna and I drove up to pick up her brother and nephew. Christopher is an interesting guy, diving in the Galapagos last week, and talking about buying a house in France. Arthur is exceptionally cute, with a proper English accent as well as being fluent in French. Thursday I took off so that Jamie could work and I watched the kids. I exchanged the raft that burst last week and upgraded to the Fish Hunter model. We had a great time paddling around behind Autzen Stadium and discovering nature. Sam found a mud bird's nest under a bridge that was pretty cool. We had a somewhat lazy evening. I tried to get the kids to help build a rope ladder, but the distractions pulled people away. Emma watered the garden, at least. I showed Sam Sim Earth, which you can download off the Internet. We had a great time terraforming Mars, and I think he managed to wipe out a civilization or two. The kids were picked up by Jamie this morning, bright and cheerful. I handed over the first of my very large spousal support and child support checks. We're not entirely settled, but there was something strangely satisfying with getting on with things. Hopefully we can get the rest sorted out and get on with the business of raising kids. Joanna and I are going to try and listen to some music tonight, and tomorrow we're going to shoot for a mass expedition to Saturday market. I'm not sure how the rest of the weekend will pan out. All I know is that Saturday night is pizza and Mythbusters and Emma wants to raft again. We'll see how it goes.

Sunny Days with Cousins

June 29, 2010 by Adam in Family

Emma got to spend time with Isa yesterday, having a wonderful time. I picked them up from mom's house after work, feeding everyone dinner and taking them down to the park afterward. Sam and I practiced our ninja Frisbee on the snake. There was much giggling and laughing. Emma shot milk out her nose from laughing for the first time. My little girl keeps growing up.

Sam played Sims 3 a bunch yesterday, his Sim family having twins and then triplets. He finally gave up, declaring five toddlers and babies as too chaotic. I had to explain where Sim babies come from over dinner.

Emma picked up a Zelda manga at the library, and I've been reading it to her at night. This morning she decided she was going to finish it herself, which she did quite well. It's been awesome watching her get so good at reading.

Tonight Joanna and her kids come over for their usual Tuesday sleepover. Once Joanna's brother Christopher arrives, I'm not sure when we'll manage to get together for a few weeks. The summer schedule is event-filled and it's sometimes challenging to coordinate everything. It does keep life interesting, though.

Boxes, Bikes, and Nautical Disasters

June 28, 2010 by Adam in Family

It felt like the first weekend of summer, full of adventures and play and laziness.  One of my favorite moments was laying squished up in a hammock with Emma, listening to her read her Ponyo book all by herself.

Friday night Joanna and I went to the Graveyard Club, a quirky play in Pleasant Hill.  Community theater at its finest.  In the morning I picked up the kids and took them home, Joanna and her kids arriving after lunch.  We had a lazy day of play and running around outside.  Everyone but Sam went to the park to ride bikes.  Emma's graduated to Sam's old bike and is right on the edge of being able to ride by herself.  Berry was very enthusiastic, despite the scraped knee.  Duncan's slowly getting more comfortable himself.

I managed a few projects, washing the car with the kids, emptying and moving the compost tumbler, and putting up a second hammock.  Emma and I did a fast library run.  I still have bark-o-mulch to spread and a rope ladder to build.  It's fun watching the back yard come together.

Mythbusters was sadly a rerun, though we watched How Its Made with our pizza.  Joanna, Sam, and I watched the Doctor Who finale, which was surprisingly good.  We've decided to switch to Glee as a replacement.  Sam has really gotten into it lately.

Sunday breakfast was the usual massive affair, followed by musical events in the basement.  Joanna and her kids went to church while I took my kids rafting at Alton Baker Park.  Sadly we overinflated one of the chambers and burst it, but the raft still worked relatively well.  We watched Canada geese, nutria, and other aquatic creatures.  There were showers all around for our return.  The rest of Sunday was lazy, with a forced reading session on the hammocks.  Emma's turning into a very good reader, and it's fun to hang out with her while she reads.

This morning Dave came to watch the kids, which they were both excited about.  Josh is back in town, and my mom should be here tonight.  Summer is proving to be an interesting mix of relaxing and busy.

Rafting the Mill Race

June 25, 2010 by Adam in Family

I took yesterday off work, letting Jamie get a work day in and letting me spend more time with the kids.  The morning started off very lazily, stopping by Target, dropping off cold medicine for Joanna at work, and then going to Dick's Sporting Goods for a raft which was on sale.

I got the kids from Jamie's and headed home.  The first order of business was to try again with a climbing net.  Unfortunately my beat-up hammock made for a pretty lousy one.  I'm to the point where I'm going to simply buy a real one.

Next off was playing with fire.  I tried to make match rockets, but they must have changed things since I was a kid.  The tinfoil wrapped around the match simply melted through rather than containing the ignition and turning it into thrust.  Hopefully they learned some science from the failure.  Sparklers were passed out as a reasonable substitute.

Next was getting the raft set up, inflated, and driving it strapped to the roof down to campus.  It was a little exciting, but didn't fly away, and we found some quirky parking.  The kids were pretty excited to get it in the water, and we had a great time puttering about.  Sam in particular liked the industrial feel of the millrace, with odd garbage, bridges, and machinery strewn about.

Unfortunately the raft got poked by a downed tree on our way back.  I put the kids in and crossed the stream before it deflated, sinking knee-deep into the mud.  Everyone made it back to the shore and I required several showers before feeling truly clean again.

The rest of the afternoon was pretty lazy.  We patched the hole, watched movies, and played on computers.  I took the kids back and went down to Corvallis.  Joanna fed me snap peas fresh from the garden, though sadly was still up much of the night coughing.

It's mocha Friday, and I'm well caffeinated.  Tonight Joanna and I are seeing a play in Pleasant Hill.  Tomorrow I'm collecting the kids and promised Emma more rafting adventures.  Good times.

Odd Middle of the Week

June 23, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's been quirky the last 24 hours or so.

  • My rope ladder in the back yard didn't pan out particularly well.  I may have to buy a real one.
  • Joanna's cough continues, and she was up most of the night, exhausted today.
  • Her car was broken into by a polite thief, removing only $2 in change.
  • This morning Jamie arrived amidst the chaos and tentatively asked, "You're not expecting me to watch all these kids, right?"  I laughed and replied, "What's a couple more?"
  • When Berry decided to change her dress at the last minute and ran into trouble, Jamie nicely assisted.

Like mom used to say, some days I feel like I'm gathering material for a novel.

Swings and Loose Teeth

June 22, 2010 by Adam in Family

I had a long, lazy three-day weekend, generally pleasant and sunny.  The kids continued to be sniffly but are on the mend.

Sunday we hung out with Joanna and her kids, with Emma in particular helping entertain Berry.  When the rain came, they retreated to the shed for snacks and games.  It's nice to see that space finally used for something.

Sam tried to spend Sunday night at John's house, but returned home after not feeling well.  Monday we walked down to Metropol for treats, and started making a rope ladder next to the swings.  The weather was gorgeous, fitting for the first day of Summer.

Jamie's watching the kids today and tomorrow, and then I'll take Thursday off to watch them.  I'm not sure what's happening next week, but hopefully we can handle it before our normal babysitters arrive in town and the summer schedule begins for real.

Happy Father's Day

June 20, 2010 by Adam in Family

Happy Father's Day, all!

I'm entertaining Emma and Duncan with Fimo clay.  There were Doras, goo balls, and hearts with angel wings.  Time to paint.  Joanna's still sleeping, her cold continuing on.  Hopefully it will distract little people long enough to get breakfast started.

Everyone was under the weather yesterday.  Sam and I put up the second swing, this one far more real than the first.  It's very secure and we managed to do it without drilling into the balcony.  The rest of the day was spent hanging around the house or puttering in the garden.  Sam and I worked on his computer game some more, which has a man-versus-nature theme.  Emma watched Pirates of the Carribean, declaring it was a pretty good movie.

Hopefully we can get outside a little today and enjoy the weather.

School's Out

June 18, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's mocha Friday for me, the second mocha in two days. Everyone seems to be sick lately, Sam wrapping up his cold and Emma starting in on one herself. Thursday night Berry was up screaming for an hour, clearly not feeling very good. I required caffeinated assistance come morning time. Sam and Emma had their last day of school yesterday. The afternoon was filled with Field Day, a series of outside games to wrap up the year. Sam had been sick all week, but was there to enjoy the festivities. Emma had lots of fun, exhausting herself at the end. They bid their final farewells and headed to Jamie's house. As for this weekend, Joanna and I are hanging out as usual tonight, and tomorrow everyone descends upon my house. With everyone feeling under the weather, it may be a movie marathon weekend. I'm taking Monday off to watch the kids, and hoping we can rent canoes at Alton Baker Park. This year Sam gets his own, as there's too much negotiation with two children in one boat.

Bob Marley

June 17, 2010 by Adam in Family

It was an odd and interesting day.  Sam was sick again today, missing his graduation ceremony.  I took Joanna in for a quickie medical procedure, and then returning home to keep an eye on everyone.  Joanna slept most of the afternoon, in between Desparate Housewives.  Sam played video games.  I wrote interfaces between Oracle and SQL.  Somehow I think I got the short straw between the three of us.

Toward the end of the day, I made Sam go into the basement and play some big ball.  It seemed to perk him up and he was in good spirits as we dropped him off at Jamie's house.  Hopefully he's well enough to go to his last day of school tomorrow.

I went to Joanna's house to help entertain children and tidy up.  After dinner we had some impromptu Bob Marley in meow language:


June 15, 2010 by Adam in Family

The annual Crest Drive carnival was last night.  Sam missed it, as he's been sick, staying home a second day this week.  I'm nervous leaving him alone, but he's been doing relatively okay.  Yesterday he made himself waffles and microwaved pizza.  For dinner he requested "something that can't be prepared in a minute."  I made him ravioli.

The carnival itself was the usual blend of fun and madness.  Emma loved getting tickets and redeeming them for a weird mix of Made in China trinkets.  The duck scoop in particular was quite lucrative, as the volunteer operator wasn't given any reward instructions.

Joanna showed up with Berry and Duncan, and the three kids ran about eating, playing, and showing off their treasures.  Emma and I went home tired, but content.

Water Slide Madness

June 14, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work, trying to get into the swing of things. Sam's home with a lingering cough, but generally okay. I dropped Emma off at school and left her with a yearbook she was cheerfully looking through. It was a good weekend, overall. The kids continue to all get more used to each other. They had a great time on the water slide and breakfasts were full of tasty good conversation. There were the occasional worries and breakdowns, but they seem less common. Saturday night was pizza and Mythbusters, and then another Doctor Who for Sam, Joanna, and I. The next day was puttering around until church. I'm not sure when I'll make it back, as my mom's out and I've been wanting to spend some alone time with Sam. I may end up doing things like bike rides with him while Emma plays with my mom. In the afternoon I took Emma to buy an air rocket and swing equipment. I haven't figured out how to attach the official swing, but I improved a rope swing with a seat that the kids thought was pretty awesome. More work is needed. The evening was pretty quiet, the summer heat seeming to sneak up on me. I ran about in shorts and opened windows. The sun is amazing.

Summer's Here

June 12, 2010 by Adam in Family

I realize we have another week of school, but it's feels like summer has suddenly come upon us.  I took Friday off and played with the kids all day.  It was a little cloudy, so the kids and I went to the library and both of them got library cards.  We puttered about all afternoon.  Sam and I played computer games together.  At the library, both kids got free books as part of a reading program and Emma read hers to me off and on all day.  She's got the reading bug now, going through most of a chapter book by herself.

Joanna, Berry, and Duncan arrived that night.  We'd thought about going swimming, but Joanna had a migraine and Emma and Sam didn't want to go.  We settled for playing, reading bedtime stories, and going to bed early.  Sam and I stayed up and watched Stargate Universe, decrying yet another "To Be Continued."

This morning everyone seemed much improved.  I made my usual massive breakfast of crepes, bacon, sausages, and gluten-free blueberry pancakes.  And whip cream.  Far too much whip cream.  It's a massive undertaking, but fortunately cafe mocha makes it all possible.

We headed to Target where Emma bought herself a purse and toy with her birthday dollars (thanks, dad!)  The rest of the crew stocked up on house supplies and Sam finally got new shoes.

Returning home, I broke out the slip-and-slide, hooked it up to the warm water off the water heater, and had an hour of four kid sliding madness.  Even Duncan, who's a little cautious around water, got in on the action.  Eventually we had to call it quits and feed everyone lunch. 

Oh, and yesterday Emma burned some gnomes.  We covered the safety rules, as usual.

The Last Music Performance

June 09, 2010 by Adam in Family

The kids had their end of the year music performance at Crest Drive today.  Emma was so excited to have me there, leading me to her classroom and having me sit behind her while we waited for the performance to start.

I had heard some of the songs before.  Last night, Emma led Duncan and Berry in a song and dance routine while they ate tacos.  Emma seemed pretty cheerful throughout, while Sam seemed a little too cool to sing songs in front of everyone.  He did crack a smile when his friend John got to play the shunned kid for one song.

Wednesdays are always a little bittersweet.  Joanna and I plan on going to the movies tonight, followed by a fun-filled shopping trip at Target.  I miss the kids already, though fortunately I get to see them on Friday.  Jamie's going to Bend and I'm taking the day off.  The plan is to get them library cards so Josh can take them to the library once per week.  I'm also hoping we can enjoy the weather and hopefully go swimming.

Tuesday Odds and Ends

June 08, 2010 by Adam in Family

It was nice visiting with Yayoe last night. Both kids enjoyed her cooking, and I got a few brief moments to chat with her. When we got home, books and games had arrived, courtesy of Sam's gift cards from his birthday and Christmas.

I continue to strive to organize my life these days. Both Joanna and I are in a state of weird financial limbo, unsure of how much savings we have or what our adjusted incomes will be. Optimisically, we put together a budget, though it has a lot of missing numbers. Hopefully the influx of unknown dollars will be more than the outgoing unknown dollar amount.

Both kids have really loose teeth. I'm expecting them to pop out any moment, so I hope I have some dollars handy. Sam's also getting a physical and shots this July. Evidently he hasn't had a checkup for seven years.

Tomorrow is the kids' musical performance at Crest. Friday I'm taking the day off to watch them as Jamie goes to Bend to see her new nephew. I hear the name is Finn, according to Emma. It is indeed strange that I don't talk with that side of the family anymore. I hope they're all okay.

Everyone is getting together for tacos tonight. Once again my vegetarian self will be cooking the meat. Hopefully my childhood cooking skills will return to me.

Fun-Filled Weekend

June 07, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm much relieved about Emma. We had a good weekend and she happily played with Berry, Duncan, and Joanna. There were lots of hugs, reading at quiet time, and general cheerfulness. Joanna led an effort to interview everyone and create some house rules. Emma in particular seemed assuaged, and relieved when kids were moved to their bedrooms when screaming broke out. I also tried to spend a lot of time with her, which she seemed to appreciate. As for the rest of the weekend, Friday afternoon I saw Emma get an award at her school. Later on both kids tried to Skype me at once and I had to take time switching between them. That night I made dinner for Joanna and we went down to the public library to listen to music and pick up a few books. Saturday morning I scooped up the kids and played until lunch time. Joanna, Berry, and Duncan arrived for Phad Thai that I'd whipped up, and later on they headed out to play in a park and go food shopping. Emma and I made bread. The kids and I went to another park to practice bike riding and play frisbee. Eventually everyone regrouped for pizza and Mythbusters, followed by bedtime. Sam, Joanna, and I watched our weekly Doctor Who. Sunday was the usual massive breakfast, which miraculously wiped away all crankiness. We barely made it to church, with me dropping my kids off at my mom's house. Once again we regrouped at home for lunch and playing. Joanna and Emma worked on the house rule posters. Duncan and Berry played off and on throughout the day. Towards the end of the day they headed home and I took the kids to the park. We explored Amazon creek, returning muddy and tired. Emma picked flowers and Sam failed to build a bridge across the creek, sensibly deciding not to jump. His shoes had to go through the wash as they were completely gross. Dinner was leftovers, pizza for Sam, Phad Thai for Emma, and cereal for me. Emma and I chatted at bedtime, going through her worries and trying to find ways to make sure she's okay with the upcoming changes. If I keep engaging her and making time for her, I think it'll all work out. The evening ended with Sam and I watching Stargate Universe, and heading to bed. Good times.

Mid-week Changes

June 02, 2010 by Adam in Family

Sam's presentation went well.  He accidentally referred to Richard Feynman's "one eye" as opposed to his "own eyes", which produced lots of laughter.  Still, my impression is that the presentation was fine.  It's hard to believe that the kids have only two and a half weeks until summer vacation.

Joanna took most of the day off yesterday, as she was under the weather.  She very nicely came over early to make burgers and mac and cheese for everyone.  After dinner we had an epic hide and seek session, even getting Sam and I to hide in closets and behind curtains.  Joanna couldn't help giggling, which gave her away more than once.

I drove the kids to school, with Sam chatting happily about his game idea for his first programming task.  I'm going to have him work with Josh this summer to see if I can get him learning the basics of programming.  Sam asked if he could work on concept art while at his mom's, and I cheerfully agreed.  The kids are off to Jamie's for a few days, though I'll see at least Emma occasionally, as she has several end-of-year presentations going on.  Coyote Kids is tomorrow, and awards are this Friday.

As for tonight, we'd normally go to song circle, but we're both a little under the weather.  We might try to go out for a little while if I can find something interesting to do.

Birthday #2

June 01, 2010 by Adam in Family

Emma's second birthday was both more wild and subdued.  Everyone over sixty congregated in the living room, sipping tea and chatting.  Everyone under twenty descended into the basement and played loudly.  We few in-between folks ran back and forth, making sure neither group got into too much trouble.

In terms of the rest of the weekend, it went generally pretty well.  Sam and Joanna were sent out for pizza on Saturday.  A chicken tractor was delivered Friday night, making a great place for kids to play until occupied.  Joanna dug out her Donkey Kong board game and we all played together.  Sam and I finished watching Lost Monday night.

Joanna and I both came down with colds, so we were a little draggy on Monday.  Still, we managed to hold down the fort.  Joanna and her mom went apartment hunting.  The plan is that by August 1st, Joanna and her kids will be moved in and Collette will have her own place.  There's a lot of details to go through, but it generally seems to be going well.

As with all these life changes, mostly I worry about the kids.  I'm not expecting perfection, and issues do come up on occasion.  Emma wasn't particularly happy about getting lip gloss applied to a bunch of things in her room.  Berry has gotten bumped once or twice while playing.  Still, I'm surprised at how well they do get along.  Emma likes having people who will play pretend with her.  Sam is amused by Berry and likes to help Duncan do his computer puzzle games.  We continue to work on house rules and resolving conflict.  As I pointed out to Joanna, "The Brady Bunch was a pretty funny show."

I'm picking up Sam and Emma shortly, and then we all descend at the house for dinner, homework, and bed.  I'm curious as to how Sam's research project turned out.  I made him practice in front of us last night, but he'd only do it if he hid behind the coffee table.

Birthday #1

June 01, 2010 by Adam in Family

I put together a video of Emma's first birthday, along with the elaborate work that went into the birthday cake. 

Joanna and I planned the cake in advance, bringing home all we'd need to make a guitar-shaped cheesecake.  We had two cheescake circles, one with a gluten-free crust.  The guitar neck was made of organic chocolate cake, and a thick layer of chocolate was poured over everything.  It was a huge hit and by the end of the long weekend, the cheesecake was gone.  Friday night we spent hours baking, and finished it up the next morning.  Ironically, Emma decided she'd rather have vanilla ice cream.

I picked up Sam and Emma Saturday morning, and Joanna, Berry, and Duncan arrived shortly afterward.  We did our usual playing around and getting ready for the party, with guests arriving at 3 p.m.  Emma had a great time, with a lot of Taylor Swift themed music playing and singing along.  The girls got dressed up and their goodie was a picture of them together to take home.

Darn It

May 28, 2010 by Adam in Family

I noticed a hole in my sock this morning. Joanna immediately whipped out a needle and thread and darned me. It was very sweet.

I was a little mopey yesterday, the first of Emma's birthdays that I've ever missed. I talked to her on the phone a couple times, which was nice, and we have a bunch of parties planned this weekend. I kept myself busy yesterday, shopping for vast quantities of food, working on laundry, and taking in the mail. Life feels very full these days.

Tonight Joanna and I plan on making Emma' birthday cake, an elaborate blend of cheesecake and chocolate cake, shaped into a guitar. Hopefully it'll be well received by the girls descending on our house Saturday afternoon. Sunday evening we have a family birthday for Emma and Jenny. Monday is a BBQ of some kind, though I don't know when. Hopefully we can have some time to relax or play outside. I'd love to get Emma practicing on her bike again.

As for me, I'm going to finish my mocha and work on our new Internet site. It feels good to finally be able to fix things after the last of the vendors have been swept away.

Birthdays Galore!

May 26, 2010 by Adam in Family

Last Sunday, Joanna and I made baklava for Sam, his favorite sweet.  She has a tradition of celebrating half birthdays, and this morning we whipped out a half-birthday bakalava with candles, a card, and presents.  He was surprised and happy, quite enthusiastic about this new excuse for a celebration.  He immediately turned some of the money in the card, coupled with his savings, into a new computer game.  Hopefully he'll wear the new socks sometime too, as his current ones are surprisingly holey.

Jenny also has her birthday today, and for a few months we're the same age.  Happy birthday, Jenny!  I'm throwing a family birthday for Emma Sunday night, and you're welcome to come.  I need to send out e-mail invitations, as I've been slacking off lately.

Emma's birthday is tomorrow.  For some reason seven seems so much older than six.  I've arranged for a rock-and-roll themed party for her and her friends Saturday afternoon.  It should be an exciting weekend.

Sam informed me this morning that he actually enjoys school.  He went on to say that it was because they weren't learning anything, but I suspect that he's just gotten good at school and enjoys the things they've been doing in class.  I'm a fan of secretly teaching kids while they have fun.

This morning was filled with children as Joanna and her clan were over last night.  Emma played with Berry and Duncan in the basement while Joanna and I rushed about making breakfast and cleaning up.  Everyone was generally cute and funny, with a few moments of tears when they had to go to school.  Duncan cheerfully offered up his Tears of Suffering for others to devour after he'd settled down.

Crepes and Tricycles

May 24, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work, the frantic activity at work replacing the frantic activity of home.  Both are pleasant though, in their own ways.

Friday night Joanna and I hit up a gardening store, ate relatively good sandwiches at the Go Healthy Cafe, and turned in early.  Saturday morning I collected the kids and went home.  They'd had doughnuts, which evidently stifled their appetite until noon.  Until then, we played Munchkin and had a great time, with Emma winning in the end.

Joanna, Berry, and Duncan arrived for lunch and we generally hung about the house.  Sam spent much of the afternoon at John's house, with Emma and I collecting him for pizza and Mythbusters.  After the smaller kids went to bed, Joanna, Sam, and I watched Doctor Who to round out the evening.

Sunday morning was filled with crepes, whip cream, and lots of playing.  Sam hung out with Josh for a few hours, and Emma with my mom.  Joanna and I made a special something for Sam's upcoming half-birthday, as well as getting things ready for Emma's birthday party.  Our hot date Friday night will likely involve making cake.

As the day wore down, I tidied up the house and forced the kids to go outside after dinner.  As usual, they complained loudly about going, but had a great time once they were out there.  Sam had the usual Nerf shootout with the neighbors.  Emma broke out the tricycle and rode around like a maniac.

This morning everyone was funny and cheerful, well motivated by leftover crepes and whip cream.

Belated Mocha Friday

May 21, 2010 by Adam in Family

My morning mocha is but a distant memory, though I can still feel its magical powers bubbling through my veins. It's been a good work day, cleaning up vendor messes and generally whipping our new Internet site into shape.

Joanna wasn't up for open mic night, so we saw Date Night for date night. Quite funny. Tonight we're hitting a gardening store and heading out to west Eugene to visit a gluten-free restaurant we've been meaning to get to for ages.

I haven't heard any more from Sam, who is probably on his way to Jamie's house at this moment. I hope he had a good time. I Skyped Emma last night, who told me how she made root beer from scratch at Coyote Kids. I think she likes doing nature things, so hopefully we can do more of that next year.

Kirsten showed up at my house last night, delivering Josh's old bike to Sam. I hope to find some time to get it ready for him in preparation for the summer and next year. It's in pretty good shape and really only needs a fender for rainy weather. I'll see if I can teach Sam some basic bike maintenance too. I have fond memories of replacing bike tubes with the use of two forks (sorry, mom!).

I'm excited to see the kids tomorrow. Emma has asked to plant something this weekend, so I'll try to oblige her. Swimming would be fun too, though I'm not sure I'll get everything ready in time. Both kids are wrapping up the school year, and I'm trying hard to get everything ready for summer. Time flies.

Mid-Week Shift

May 19, 2010 by Adam in Family

Wednesdays are always sea changes for me. The kids are off and I usually hang out with Joanna or get things done at my house until Saturday morning. I've felt a little off all day. Monday night the kids and I went to Roosevelt for orientation, after a quick dinner at home. It was terribly nostalgic. Walking into the library was like a dream, as almost thirty years ago I spent many a lunch hour watching movies like Young Frankenstein. Emma was eager to stay, though tired by the end. Sam seemed a little excited, especially as we hooked up with three other Crest kids. There are at least two others in the neighborhood who are going into sixth grade. Sam left for Outdoor School today, returning Friday afternoon after three days of no-electronics. He's been unhappy about going, so I put together a care package for him: the Munchkin game, another card game, baklava, home made beef jerky, and the Graceling book. Hopefully he'll have a good time, though he told me "If I come back saying I had a good time, I've been brainwashed." I guess I'm crossing my fingers for brainwashing, then. We had Joanna and her kids over last night, a quick meal of quesadillas, followed by bath and bedtime. Emma was sweet, reading her school book to Berry and Duncan. Sam reveled in watching Malcolm in the Middle episodes. Everyone got up surprisingly early and I cleaned, packed, and herded my way through the morning. I think I got everything ready for Sam's trip. Emma was very huggy as I dropped her off to school. It's always odd that I won't see them for a few days. Tonight Joanna and I are visiting an open mic at a coffee house. I may have to indulge in a decaf mocha.

Talent Show Weekend

May 17, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work, another weekend come and gone.  Because of my work trip, I'd swapped days with Jamie and had the kids Thursday night onward.  Friday afternoon I picked up Sam and Emma from the Musgroves, with Emma returning home with a bag full of worms.  We stopped by Tasty Thai, which has lots of gluten-free food for Joanna.  Dinner was outside in the gorgeous weather, Duncan and Berry playing in the sandbox and running about the back yard.  That night Sam, Joanna, and I watched Doctor Who late into the night.

Saturday was a massive breakfast of oatmeal-yogurt blueberry pancakes for the grown-ups, and crepes and sausages for the kids.  Whip cream has evidently become a necessity as well, even more so than chocolate milk and marshmallows.

Emma and I went to the library with Joanna, Berry, and Duncan.  The newcomers were duly impressed with the library, Duncan remembering having gone there once before with his dad.  We loaded up on Dora books for the small kids, a puberty book for Emma, and a couple funny teen books for Sam.  Emma and I hung out a bit longer to eat bagels and slap the statue out front.  It felt good to have some one-on-one time with her.

The afternoon was pretty low-key.  Sam and I played Sleep is Death, a quirky two-player storytelling game.  He figured it out faster than I did, being the storyteller for three different tales: our first test, Adventures with a Skull, and Jail Break.  Sam has a bit of an exciting-streak, but I managed to turn most of them into comedies.  I later led a story with him, which I'll try to put online.

We wandered down to the park for play, and then had tacos for dinner.  We delayed pizza and Mythbusters until Sunday night as the day was just too full.

Sunday morning was equally low-key.  I took Sam and Emma to my mom's while the rest of us went to church.  I had some time afterward with Emma while Sam worked at my mom's house.  Later the two of us watched the talent show where Joanna, Duncan, and Berry performed.  After saying our farewells, I picked up Sam and we had a quiet evening.  Sam finished his poster.  Emma worked on spelling and helped me go grocery shopping.

The week ahead promises to be exciting.  We're off to Roosevelt tonight for Sam's orientation.  He helped pick his electives and woodworking and reading went to the top of his list.  Swimming and biking were in there too, with debate way down at the bottom.  We'll see what he ends up getting.

Sam's also going to outdoor school along with his entire 5th grade class.  He's not really looking forward to it, so I hope he has an okay time.  I'll see if I can put together a care package of sorts.  Donations are welcome.


Mocha Friday

May 14, 2010 by Adam in Family

My mocha is long-gone, the day feeling very busy and endless projects and tasks clamoring for my time.  It's nice being back after my work trip, returning slowly to the current routine.

I left work early on Thursday going food shopping and getting Sam to watch Iron Man 2.  It was big-budgettastic, with over-the-top special effects and Robert Downey Jr. in good comedic form.  The plot was serviceable, with some subtle digs at the defense industry.  I went home to a cheerful Emma.  She had a good time with the pink feather wig that Summer had given me from the trip.

As for the weekend, I'm going to try to be as low-key as possible in between the various things that are going on.  Joanna and her kids arrive for dinner, which I'm hoping can be orderd from Tasty Thai.  She's part of a talent show this weekend, so she has practice Saturday and is playing on Sunday.  Since she's playing Taylor Swift, I'll bring Emma along for the festivities.  Sam has some homework to finish and has requested that he learn how to program.  The latter may be a more exciting project, and take awhile.  The weather is also supposed to be beautiful, so I'm hoping we can get outside as much as possible.

Mother's Day Weekend

May 11, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's ten o'clock and I'm posting this from a hotel room.  After being up for nineteen hours, I'm exhausted.  Here's the video of our fun-filled weekend:

4:30 a.m. Mocha

May 10, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's crazy early in the morning and I'm soon to be picked up for my ride to Bellingham.  It's one of those face-to-face meeting things, our whole team getting together.  I have a cold this morning, so my enthusiasm about this trip is lower than usual.  Hopefully it'll be a productive few days.

It was a good weekend, overall.  I picked up the kids Saturday morning and we puttered around the house until Joanna and her kids arrived later that day.  I recruited Sam and Emma to help outside with preparing a mushrom growing area behind the shed.  Somewhere in there the kids got wheelbarrow rides, cries of glee filling the yard.  Once Berry and Duncan showed up, it was our traditional pizza and Mythbusters and then bed.

As usual, I rolled up my sleeves Sunday morning to make a massive breakfast of crepes, sausages, and whip cream.  Joanna got her requested ultrasonic jewelery cleaner for her Mother's Day gift, and proceeded to clean everything she could fit in there.  The kids ran about until it was time for church, with Emma and Sam hanging out at my mom's house.  Joanna was having a hard time with back pain that day, which didn't quite clear up until later in the afternoon.  Fortunately she was well enough to prepare and cook the chicken, and peel potatoes while I set the table.

Mother's Day dinner was a hit, with my mom, Bob, Yayoe, John, and Colette chatting the night away.  Emma was a social butterfly, impressing everyone with her ability to hold a conversation.  The kids were enamored with the steady flow of cookies and chocolate mousse that graced the table.  Eventually everyone went home, full and satisfied.  I took Sam and Emma to Jamie's house, where they imparted a long list of presents.  She seemed to enjoy the pottery the kids' painted, our secret getaway from a few weeks back.

I best shave and get ready to be picked up.  My ride arrives soon.  I'll see if I can put together some weekend movies on my drive up.

Mocha Friday

May 07, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's Mocha Friday, though my beverage of choice is but a distant memory. It was a free one today, after obtaining the required ten punches on a card. Free is always tastier.

Thursday evening was a bit of a frantic madhouse, rushing to the library, grocery store, post office, and home to Skype with Emma. She explained how she learned to follow a calf with her eyes clothed in her Coyote Kids class after school. I'm glad she's having a good time doing something a little different. Emma was a little worried she'd miss me due to my upcoming business trip, but I assured her I'd see her on Saturday. Sam also got on briefly to show off his new headphones.

I drove down to Creswell after packing my lunch and clothes for the night, collapsing early to sleep. I think I'm getting a touch of whatever Sam had, as I feel a bit of scratchiness in my throat. Fortunately caffeine and Advil work like a charm.

Tonight we have absolutely nothing of importance planned, other than making dinner and taking it easy. Tomorrow begins the kid and Mother's Day festivities. I have a Mythbusters and My Neighbor Totoro lined up for kid entertainment. Of course, anything is fun to watch with enough pizza to go around.

Mid-Week Omelette

May 05, 2010 by Adam in Family

I drove the kids to school this morning, after fulfilling their assorted breakfast requests. Emma wanted an omelette, which I managed to do quite well. Sam got cheese eggs and waffles, quite disappointed that Emma got the last of the whip cream in her frothed, warm milk.

Sam was really sick for most of this week, with a sore throat that made it painful when eating anything. We had some brief success with numbing his throat with teething gel, but it only worked briefly. Yesterday night he suddenly improved. We had Joanna and her family over for dinner. Sam ate chicken, macaroni and cheese, broccoli, and mashed potatoes. Later that night he had an entire peanut butter and honey sandwich.

There was some excitement yesterday, though. I was about to send him to school, when he went to throw up as Emma got in the car. I think it was lack of food combined with Motrin and vitamins. He perked up later and I left him at home so I could meet with auditors at work. Meanwhile, the SWAT team was called in a few blocks away. I called my mom and Sam hung out at her house for the rest of the day.

Emma has been cheerful and pleasant as always. She's gotten really good at sight reading and has been eagerly reading Frog and Toad to me at night. She also got some makeup and a hairbrush from my dad, presents from his time in Disney World. Soon I was chatting with him on the couch, straight hair and glitter on my cheeks.

As for me, Joanna and I have song circle tonight. I'm hoping to accomplish some miscellaneous shopping and house projects tomorrow. The weekend should be the usual kid-filled happy chaos, with Mother's Day dinner as a tasty finale.

Singing Through the Weekend

May 03, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work, and the kids are at school. I'm not sure they were thrilled about the latter. Sam still has a sore throat, but I think he's on the mend. The hardest part is getting food in him, as swallowing hurts. I've been making a lot of rich, foamy, warm milk, and other things that have lots of calories and go down easy. Hopefully he'll be better by the end of the week. Friday night Joanna and I went to the Supreme Bean to listen to Ali Losik. She played the piano and ukulele, wonderful jazzy tunes about love and happiness. Coupled with a mocha, it made for a fun night. Sam was dropped off at the house Saturday morning while Emma and Jamie went to King Estate Winery for the day along with Jim, Judy, Josh, Dave, and Kirsten. Sam was feeling so miserable at the time that he wasn't up for pizza and Mythbusters. We ended up having yakisoba and Mythbusters, which worked well enough. I think Berry and Duncan were feeling a little under the weather, as they seemed more tired than usual. They still had a good time playing and running around outside. Evidently Duncan is set on crepes every Sunday morning now. I made gluten-free pancakes for Joanna and I, and while we thought they were delicious, Duncan was quite adamant about his love of pancakes he can roll up. The kids had a good time at my mom's on Sunday. She managed to find some food to feed Sam, and for some strange reason we played marbles on the table upon my arrival. Since the weather was so gorgeous, I borrowed a Frisbee from my mom and we ended up going to the park to play. Emma's gotten really good and we were out so long I got a sunburn. Sam finished up almost all of his research project, Emma's reading a chapter book to me for school, and everyone had a quiet evening together. Emma loves Taylor Swift. I loaded up some songs on her mp3 player, so she's been running around the house singing along.

Mocha Friday

April 30, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's another delicious mocha Friday, that sweet elixir now a distant memory.  I'm hunkering down for a busy day at work.  I think we get to play the heroes, cleaning up after consultants.  It feels good to do it right, despite the inevitable comedic hijinks that will likely ensue.

It seems we have a passel of sick kids.  Jamie called to let me know Sam was taken out of school with a fever.  I webcammed with him yesterday, his voice deep as he lay on the couch.  He's out of school today, and hopefully he'll be better by the weekend.  Emma was her normal cheerful self, making me spell words for a change.  Hopefully it got her ready for her test today, in a roundabout way.

Over at Joanna's, both Berry and Duncan had a fever yesterday.  We came home to find them laying on the couch, half-asleep.  They went to be fairly early, both of them waking up in the middle of the night.  I took over for a very tired Joanna, sitting up with a wide-awake Duncan at 3:30 a.m. as he read books to me and started every other sentence with "Guess what, Adam?"  Finally he got back to sleep and both kids are out of school today just to be on the safe side.

Hopefully tonight Joanna and I can get out.  There's a musician playing at a nearby coffee house, and a play at the U of O.  Tomorrow Jamie's keeping the kids later to spend some time with Jim and Judy, so I'll likely hang out with Joanna's family and make myself useful.  Pizza and Mythbusters on Saturday is a must, though Berry and Duncan may already be stuffed with pizza from a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese.  Sunday will likely be a "hang out with kids" day, which sounds lovely.

I put together a short video of Emma and I reading, as well as some of the work I did around the house on Wednesday.

Swimming through the Weekend

April 26, 2010 by Adam in Family

It was another very full weekend, with generally happy kids. Emma was under the weather, but was doing much better by this morning. Friday night Joanna and I drove down to Cottage Grove to attend a fundraiser for Children's Miracle Network. A bunch of high school boys put on a pageant, which involved much dancing, cross-dressing, and spandex. It was pretty awesome, though we left at intermission due to overall fatigue.

me, pizza and Mythbusters, and eventually sleep. Duncan liked having Sam and Emma around to help him with tricky World of Goo levels. Duncan and Berry also recruited Sam to play some game involving eating him. Joanna and Emma played guitar. I managed to accomplish assorted house tasks and smile at everyone's antics. At the end of the day, Sam, Joanna, and I watched Doctor Who, which produced odd dreams throughout the night. Emma had a hard time sleeping that night, and I was up a bunch, but she seemed better in the morning. Everyone loved the crepes and whip cream, as usual, with Duncan eating a remarkable four. My kids went to my mom's house, while the rest of us went to church. I picked up Emma afterward for ice cream, with Joanna briefly joining us for a scoop. Then it was library, car washing, planting beans, playing in the garden, and homework for all. Jamie and Josh came over to plan summer kid-watching, and I think we sorted everything out. Josh stayed for dinner, to the kids' amusement, and I read fresh library books to Emma. Sam and I watched Lost, and everyone slept very well. Life continues to be busy and good. What else could I ask for?

Underwater Adventure Seekers

April 21, 2010 by Adam in Family

My coworkers have been showing off their Kodak PlaySport ZX3 video cameras.  After researching options, I plunked down my $150 and picked one up.  I love the tiny size, the high resolution, and the fact that it fits in my pocket so easily.  I've been playing around with it for the last couple days and have been happy with the results.  It's also waterproof, which Emma really enjoyed.

Last night Joanna's mom took the kids to my house, and all seven of us sat down for a dinner of mac-n-cheese and steamed green beans and applesauce.  It went over pretty well, and the kids got along fairly well.  After they left, it was homework, bath, and the normal bedtime routine.  This morning I got the kids up, made it through a generally amusing breakfast of syrup spilling and shreeks of laughter, and got everyone off to school.  I'll see them all Saturday morning, though I may try to Skype Thursday for a little.

My social agenda is packed tonight, going to happy hour with a Joanna to socialize and network with fellow marketing and communication people.  After that is dinner at church with everyone, and then off to Target to buy a long list of things.  There are a couple other side trips we might sneak in, though I have no idea where the time will magically appear from.

 All-in-all, life is busy and good.

Another Lousy, Non-Infinite Weekend

April 19, 2010 by Adam in Family

I asked Sam if he'd had a good weekend, to which he replied that it was lousy. I was worried at first, but quickly realized that it was bad because it was ending. Everyone seemed to have a good time and the main complaint was that it was over too quickly. Joanna and I had a lazy Friday after work, making dinner together and eating out on the patio in the warm weather, and then off to soak in a hot tub. In the morning I picked up the kids, slowly fed them as they settled back home, and then we met up at an undisclosed location for present-related purposes. We'd considered swimming, but couldn't quite get organized, and the weather was so amazing that I mowed the lawns and played outside with Emma. We put together an odd dinner of pizza, hamburgers, home fries, and noodles, followed by a very fun Mythbusters. Even Berry was relatively still while watching spy cars eject parachutes and deploy smoke screens. In the morning we had a massive breakfast of crepes, hot chocolate, sausages, and endless whip cream. Emma lost a tooth, which added entertainment to the meal. Everyone puttered around the house until it was time for church, with Sam and Emma hanging out with my mom and Josh as usual. I picked the kids up afterward, got everyone working on homework, and then rejoined Joanna and her family at Hendrick's Park. We had a good time running about, which turned into endless games of chase. The park was beautiful, with many of the flowers already in bloom. It felt good to get outside and even Sam seemed fairly enthusiastic. Eventually it was time to split up and go home, though Duncan in particular wanted to continue playing. The rest of the evening was routine and quiet, with Sam and I watching Lost to wind down the evening.

Mocha Friday

April 16, 2010 by Adam in Family

My mocha is slowly dwinding, my enthusiasm for writing computer code on the rise. I had a good evening out with Jason last night, going out to dinner and then a movie. The movie itself was okay, full of action and special effects with a fairly familiar story. Chatting with Jason about our friends that we've known for decades was my favorite part, and just hearing about how it was like for him to be a dad and husband. I think we've both aged well. I drove down to Joanna's to find her writing music. I ate my nightly bowl of cereal and read about all the cool eco-friendly things our neighbors are doing in the neighborhood newsletter. This morning we shepherded children through the routine. Joanna complimented me on my drinking the Tears of Suffering trick, as they now stop entirely and laugh whenever we break it out. Berry demanded Bob Marley on the drive in to town, which we managed with our Droids and YouTube. Technology saves the day. I chatted briefly with Emma yesterday, seeing if she was okay with some weekend plans I have brewing. I'm glad I get to see them tomorrow, as I get fidgety towards the end of the week. I have a fair amount of events schedule for the weekend, including swimming and hopefully getting out to a park on Earth Day Sunday. Hopefully it's generally enjoyable for all. Joanna uploaded a video of the Barbie cannibalism that her mum took. I realize that after yesterday's teasing, something had to be posted.

Barbie Leftovers

April 15, 2010 by Adam in Family

Joanna's daughter Berry turned three yesterday. There were presents scattered everywhere, the hardwood floor given a patchwork rug of wrapping paper. The remains of the Barbie cake came out after dinner, with everyone cheerfully chomping away. For a finale, Berry got to eat the frosting off the Barbie itself. Video footage was taken, in between the grown-up laughter, though Joanna sadly told me it must never be posted on the Internet. Evidently there's something inherently wrong with Barbie cannibalism when performed by a cheerful three year-old.

I'm going out with my old friend Jason tonight to see a movie. It'll be good to hang out with him and chat, something of a rarity these days. I think I have enough time to run home, bring in the mail, and pick him up for dinner.

I miss my kids when they're away, despite all the good things happening in my life. Joanna and I ran by the river at lunch, the cherry blossoms blowing in the wind. It was quite beautiful.

Changing of the Guards

April 14, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's Wednesday, which is when kids go to Jamie's and I head over to Joanna's. I'm growing used to the routine, as are the kids.

Though the week has been routine, it's been full of countless funny moments that make life worthwhile.

Sam and I hauled logs home so we could grow mushrooms behind the shed. My mom decided we'd made the whole thing up and were just seeing how far we could take our bizarre requests before she became suspicious.

Last night in the bath, Emma and I were singing along to Taylor Swift songs. Her expressions were priceless.

Joanna and I continue to battle for mayor of our work in Foursquare. This morning she stole my Droid and hid it until she checked in and stole the mayorship back.

There have also been ordinary good things. Sam is now cheerfully making and recording video games, his latest obsession. Emma was out picking cherry blossoms. I've been rearranging rooms, putting up decorations, and generally making the house work better for the new situation. Things are feeling more settled. Seedlings are sprouting in the garden. All is well.

Easter Weekend, Take Two

April 12, 2010 by Adam in Family

It was a fun, busy weekend, full of family and food. Friday night Joanna wasn't feeling good, so our hot date night consisted of food shopping and making mushroom soup. The food was excellent and it was nice to take it easy before our weekend of frantic activity. Meanwhile, Jamie took the kids to jousting at the fairgrounds where they had fun doing archery and axe throwing, in between watching a scripted competition. Sam said it was very similar to what we saw in England, and lamented that he'd like to see some more realistic battles. I pointed out the possibility that limb removal might dissuade the participants, but he wasn't dissuaded. I helped blow up 50 balloons at Joanna's in preparation for Berry's birthday party, and then picked up my kids. After the required breakfast of crepes, whip cream, sausages, and hot chocolate with marshmallows, I put them all to work doing vaguely useful things. Sam and I moved his bedroom into the basement office. He declared it cozy and seems to enjoy being down there. Emma helped mop his old room and cleaned up the years of dust bunnies that had gathered behind his bed. Interestingly enough, Sam declared that he wasn't interested in moving most of his stuff, so his posters, soccer medals, and accumulated treasures will all go in storage sometime. I went to my mom's to say hello to my sister and help with Easter preparations. Emma had a wonderful time hanging out with Isa and Sam and Josh did their usual puttering about. I ran over to Joanna's to deliver Berry's birthday present. It seems that Hungry, Hungry Hippos was a keen purchase for three and four year-olds alike. Finally we all went out to Kabuki's for dinner and I brought Josh along out of general appreciation. Sunday morning the kids and I had another hearty breakfast and started playing Settlers of Catan. I took the kids over to my mom's while I went to church, and then picked up Sam for mutual hair cuts. Sam was invited to a Nerf shootout among the neighborhood kids, and so he roamed the streets until it was time for Easter dinner. There was far too much food, candy, and mayhem. Joanna was told that Easter was the equivalent of hazing, and that she'd be accepted if she survived the night. Fortunately everyone had a good time. Berry ended up with a pink cake with zombie hands, much to everyone's amusement. I got the kids to bed at a reasonable hour, and they woke up relatively cheerful this morning. Emma managed to get her giant purple stuffed bear into her back pack so that she could take it to her mom's house. Good times.


April 09, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's been a quirky, rough start to the weekend. I'm fretting about everyone again, as is my nature.

Yesterday after work I went to meet Jenny and Seraph. We went to Area 51 Tattoo in Springfield, which like all tattoo parlors is a fascinating place to visit. Jordan was reading a Goosebumps book and Isa bought some candy cigarettes. Apparently you can buy all manner of inappropriate things at a tattoo parlor. It was great visiting with Seraph and we caught up on all the things that can't be mentioned on public web sites or Facebook. Soon enough she was sitting in a tattoo chair and getting ink poked into her skin.

She was a real trooper about it, as would be expected from a woman who had given birth and broken her wrist a couple times. She seemed happy with the result and didn't mind the 80's big-hair band music blaring from the speakers. Jenny's getting her key tonight and then all four of us will have similar, though not identical keys.

I went home to check up on the house and make sure things were still intact. I put away dishes, folded laundry, packed lunch, checked the mail, and other mundane things before heading down to Joanna's. Kids eventually were put to bed while I did dishes and made myself useful.

This morning was a bit rough, with Joanna's back bothering her quite a bit and Berry breaking out the Tears of Suffering in full force. Jamie called at work and is worrying about Sam's behavior. I'm going to spend some time with just him this weekend, and hopefully we can talk things through. My goal for the summer is to get him spending time with friends, staying active, and getting ready for Roosevelt in the fall. He's pretty averse to any camps, so I'm scrambling about trying to find things he'd be interested in. I'm trying to get Josh to watch them, which would be ideal, but there are some tricky logistic issues. I'm sure we'll figure it out eventually.

This weekend is full of Seraph, Robbie, and Isa, along with the Easter extravaganza. I'm really looking forward to seeing my kids tomorrow. Hopefully I can take some time to just hang out with them and make sure they're doing okay. There are also some family events, such as Saturday dinner, that we might go to. I'd love to get outside if the weather cooperates.


April 05, 2010 by Adam in Family

Easter weekend has come and gone. It felt incredibly full and busy, with lots of laughter and rushing about. Friday night Joanna and I went out. We didn't manage to buy either of the things on our list, but we did get some great chocolate before the night was through. In the morning I picked up the kids, skipping the usual breakfast as everyone had eaten doughnuts. Emma and I went to the library, returning with a host of books for Sam's upcoming book report and Emma's reading pleasure. We hung out in the afternoon, Sam mostly reading and Emma and I decorating the upstairs. Her room got cleaned up and things hung on the wall. I put together the bookshelf, hung artwork, and generally moved out of the basement and into the upstairs a little more. Sam's getting excited about turning the basement into his bedroom, though I'm not quite ready for him. Around 3 p.m., Joanna and her kids arrived for Easter. Emma had been wanting to dye eggs all day, so we started in earnest. I admit to getting a little carried away, gluing on googly-eyes and threading ribbon through the eggs to hang on trees. It was lots of fun, though. Saturday night was pizza and Ponyo. Amazingly, everyone enjoyed the movie, from kid to adult. The art direction was fairly incredible, so even Sam appreciated how cute Ponyo looked. Eventually we packed assorted kids into bed and settled them down. In the morning Duncan and Berry were up at the crack of dawn, getting into their Easter baskets. Emma quickly followed, and decided to hunt for eggs in the upstairs until Sam woke up. Eventually I lured him out of bed and gave him 60 seconds to himself in the basement. He probably should have just got a 10 second head-start, as his egg finding and grabbing abilities have been finely honed with age. The rest of the day was pretty low-key. I took the kids to my mom's while I went to church. We hung out at home in the afternoon doing little of importance. Sam's nearly finished with his book, playing one of the computer games I got him and wearing his Zelda shirt. Emma had a lot of fun working on the math workbooks I got her. We ironed on her pink punk skulls on her shirt and wore that too. In the evening we went over to Joanna's for lamb and potatoes, where Emma ate a tremendous number of steamed green beans. Sam enjoyed entertaining Duncan playing World of Goo. I was pretty worn out, falling asleep when putting Emma to bed. I stayed up a little late chatting with Sam, and then collapsed to bed myself.

Artifacts of Affection

April 02, 2010 by Adam in Family

I love how Emma leaves these little notes for me. I appreciate the sentiment, and am proud that she's able to read and write as well as she can. Last night we were Skyping together and she wanted me to type out our plans for Easter weekend. I saw the top of her head as she hunched over in concentration, tiny whispers coming out of my speaker as she read quietly to herself.

Sam's been delving into the modern world with gusto as of late. We exchanged several text messages after I handed my cell phone to him. He's friended me on a couple social media systems. He's making videos and uploading them to YouTube. Game levels are being constructed. It's fun to watch him slowly ease into the pre-teens, albeit with a modern twist.

I've had a great week overall. Wednesday night Joanna and I went swing dancing, which typically degenerated into endless giggling. Surprisingly we remembered the swing-to-charleston move after a few failed attempts. If only I could remember the "stroll in the park" move we learned in class. Joanna's kids weren't awake when we returned, but the next morning everyone got up early, I helped pack lunches and snacks, and we managed to get to work at a freakishly early hour.

Thursday nights are my errand nights, and yesterday was no exception. I picked up mulch, got gas, went grocery shopping, and ran home to do laundry and Skype with Emma. We chatted until it was her bedtime and then it was back to Creswell for me. This morning I helped again with the morning routine, made myself a mocha at home, stopped by the eye doctor, and have been fiddling about at work since then.

Tonight Joanna and I are doing a dinner-and-shopping date night, hopefully getting a couple fruit trees and pillows. Tomorrow I get to see my kids again, hearty breakfasts will be eaten, and eggs will be dyed. Life's good.

Off to School

March 31, 2010 by Adam in Family

I drove Sam and Emma off to school this morning, along with Sophia. It made for a long commute, but everyone was in good spirits and I watched them play with the push pins on the bulletin board while they waited for school to start. They were there pretty early, but evidently it's a normal thing for them. Eventually Sam told me I better be going and Emma gave me a goodbye kiss.

I made corn chowder and chick patties for dinner last night, while helping Sam with math. He had intentions of working on spelling as well, but never quite got to it. Emma dug things out of the craft room and made things. I ran between the two of them and dinner, offering assistance while I could. Emma and I loved the homemade chowder, and Sam ate a reasonable amount.

We had a typical post-dinner routine. Kids were bathed and showered. Dessert was eaten. Sam wanted a peanut butter sandwich for the first time in ages. After I got Emma into bed, I taught Sam how to use my old cell phone. His first task was to set a picture of a goblin as the wallpaper, as his nickname is Splug (the goblin).

Sam woke up with only minor prompting again this morning, beating Emma to the breakfast table. He turned on the television, realized he didn't want to watch anything, and announced that we don't watch television here any more. I agreed, and need to fall back to basic cable in hopes of getting my Comcast bill down.

I was a little sad sending my kiddos off for the next few days. For the next few days I'll be hanging out with Joanna and her kids. Tonight is dinner and swing dancing. Should be fun.

My Kiddos are Home

March 30, 2010 by Adam in Family

Sam and Emma were dropped off late on Sunday.  Sam was starved for Internet access and Emma just wanted to hang out with me.  I'd gotten her a swimming suit that she had to immediately wear.  She helped me cook dinner with it on and later decided to wear it as pajamas.  It was very cute.

We watched the first Mythbusters of the new season.  I had Sam make himself a hamburger and home fries, while Emma and I had rice noodles.  Emma's enthusiastic about learning to cook.  Sam needs a bit more prompting, but he ends up being more interested in eating things he makes himself.  My goal is to expand his repertoire beyond frozen waffles.

There was no school on Monday, but we managed some shuffling of kids and they were all okay.  Sam had a hard time sleeping as he got sand in his eye while at the beach, sleeping until nearly 11 a.m.  Emma went to my mom's in the morning, both kids went to Sharon's to play with John and Natalie, and then I picked them up after work.

We had a good night.  Since there was no homework, I hauled the kids into the basement and we spent a half hour making up fun, active games.  Radioactive Ball was the usual hit, and they also had a good time holding on to me and preventing me from walking around the basement.  Airplane rides were given.  Eventually we got tuckered out, I got Emma to bed, and watched Sam build Super Mario levels before sending him to bed early.

This morning everyone was in a cheery mood.  I serenaded Sam using a guitar app on my Droid.  The lyrics didn't rhyme, but he eventually woke up well enough to get him up and about.  They both ate huge amounts of food, the television turned off, and everyone talking instead.

Tonight the plan is to get Sam trained on my old cell phone.  I'm not sure how much he'll really use it, but the cost is minimal as long as he doesn't use it much.  Then it's a few days away until they return for an Easter weekend extravaganza.  Joanna and her kids are coming over to dye eggs, eat food, watch Ponyo, and hunt for eggs.  I think I'm more excited than the kids.

Herding Sheep in a Subaru

March 28, 2010 by Adam in Family

My life is always interesting these days.  This morning we were driving back from Creswell when we came across a herd of sheep.  I somehow managed to get them off the road and into a pasture, though admittedly it was mostly because I kept slowly driving forward.  Other motorists had stopped on the side of the road, and I had fun exchanging witty comments with them, such as "Say, are you looking for some sheep?"  Good times.

Sam and Emma are still at the beach, but hopefully will come home in a couple hours.  I was going to do a big get together and watch Ponyo.  Sadly I couldn't get Ponyo at the video rental and since they're coming in so late, I'll just have a somewhat quiet evening of hanging out with them instead.  A new Mythbuster's is out, so we'll watch that and eat pizza, a final hurah at the end of Spring Vacation.  Tomorrow they don't have school, though, so I've got to figure out what to do with them.

I'm resolved to do mostly practical things until they return.  I have laundry to finish and the downstairs office to pack up.  It feels good to accomplish things yet again.

Dinner in the Springtime

March 28, 2010 by Adam in Family

We just finished eating outside on the patio, the first time this Spring.  Joanna's thrown her kids in the bath and I have a few moments before I need to assist with dishes or reading books and the like.  I think this is the first Saturday I've been over at Joanna's as usually I have my kiddos, but they're still at the beach with Jamie.  I've kept exceedingly busy today to stave off my pangs of missing them.  I talked to Emma briefly Wednesday night, and Sam on Friday in hopes of getting his opinion on some swim trunks I bought him.  Hopefully the pirate symbols aren't too uncool.

Friday night we all went swimming.  Berry loves the water and Duncan is slowly getting more comfortable.  He's so tall that he can stand up in the shallow end.

This morning began with crepes and whip cream, along with a mocha for me.  That kicked off a frenzy of activity.  Emma's too small clothes were pulled out of her drawers and everything was arranged logically.  Sam's future bedroom was cleaned out a little more.  Laundry was done.  The shed windows got curtains.  I screwed up the coat hanger that had fallen down.  I fixed the trellace that had fallen down in the night. We didn't make it to pick up new fruit trees, but I felt tremendously productive.

We then went to Joanna's and the working frenzy continued.  While the kids theoretically napped, I cleaned out Joanna's car.  The dirt I could understand, as such is the result of having children to move about.  The vast number of pens and pencils was remarkable though, and I had to have a little talk with her about only being able to pick two.  There was lawn mowing, vegetable planting, compost turning, and chicken feeding.  Bikes were ridden to get the mail.  I helped make dinner and we all sat out on the patio while Duncan played Beyond the Sea over and over.  At least the boy has taste.

I'm very excited to see Sam and Emma tomorrow.  I'm hoping we can watch Ponyo and eat pizza tomorrow night, after a day of relative laziness.  Sam will be desperate to get on the Internet, I'm sure.  I'm not sure if Joanna's family will join us, depending on how everyone is feeling.

It's been a good weekend so far.  I like the mix of work and play in an appropriate balance.


Friday Mocha Preparation

March 26, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm in the planning phase of Mocha Friday, trying to figure out how I'll coordinate getting that delicious beverage.  Somewhere between Joanna's and work there's got to be a good coffee place.

Wednesday after work I got Emma from my mom's, and cooked them up dinner.  Emma helped make rice noodles and tofu, which ended up a big hit.  I think it'll get added to our repertoire of meals.

Afterward I took the kids to Jamie's so they could get ready to go to the beach on Thursday.  Joanna and I went to the open mic.  Joanna played a few songs, getting the whole room singing along to the Beatle's Let It Be.  We did have to sit through a fair amount of quirky performers.  My favorite was the beatnik cyborg love poetry.

Last night was pretty low-key.  I stopped by the house to do some odds and ends, managing to get a call in to Emma along the way.  I find I've missed the kids more than usual lately with all their trips.

Later we headed to Joanna's for an evening of mac-and-cheese and children.  There's evidently some game that involves turning me into a bridge while they climb over me.  Fortunately they haven't gotten as big as my kids yet, so the crossings were more comical than excruciating.

As for this weekend, I'm not sure if there are any particularly exciting plans.  Swimming tonight and gardening if it's nice tomorrow.  I'd love to get the other two trees for the front yard.  Sunday afternoon the kids arrive, and I'm thinking we can have a Ponyo and pizza night.

Tattoo Girl

March 24, 2010 by Adam in Family

Emma has returned from Portland. It's very nice having her about, quite the cuddly contrast from the intellectual Sam. She does require a bit more attention, as Sam would cheerfully read or play on the computer all day long.

Last night Joanna and her family came over for tacos. Dinner was full and chaotic and happy. At one point, Sam was helping Duncan with World of Goo while Emma played Littlest Pet Shops with Berry. The respite was brief, but pleasant. Eventually it turned into a "who can pick up whom" game and it was time to go.

Emma got into my temporary tattoos and covered her body with them. I didn't escape to work unscathed, and there is now the word "G33K" on my wrist. This morning we cuddled and chatted while Sam slept in. I'll miss her when she heads to the beach for the next few days.

I dropped the kids off at my mom's house. Sam wasn't particularly happy and would have preferred to stay at home all day long. When I called back later, my mom had him making aloe. I suppose if some destruction is involved, it can't be too bad.

Tonight I'm taking the kids to Jamie's after work as they leave for the beach in the morning. Joanna and I are going to an open mic in a little coffee house two houses down from where I lived when I was eightteen. Hopefully she can play, I can drink coffee, and it'll make for a lovely night out.

Quiet Day with the Kids

March 23, 2010 by Adam in Family

I took Monday off to stay with the kids.  While Sam slept in and I wait for Emma to arrive, I was a frenzy of activity about the house.  I vacuumed my car, making it look pristine.  I continued to clean out the downstairs office, getting it ready for Sam to move his bedroom into.  Somewhere in there I managed to make some sweet potato casserole.

I finally woke up Sam and we had crepes with tasty whip cream.  With a cafe mocha added in, it was like eating a bit of heaven for breakfast, minus the crunchy angels and harps.  Emma arrived and there was much cuddling.  Eventually we went out for the main journey of the day, redeeming all these gift certificates Sam accumulated.

We stopped for lunch and eventually worked our way to drop off some sweet potato casserole for Joanna.  She joined us for a walk down by the river where the kids enjoyed throwing rocks.  Afterward we headed to Best Buy to wander the aisles looking for something under $20.  Evidently that was a mouse.

The next stop was Tsunami books where Sam got two Far Side books, and then home to hang out for the rest of the day.  Emma and I spent a lot of time outside playing.  After dinner, I had both kids laughing and getting their heart rate up playing with the big ball.

I liked having both kids around.  It's strange to think that in a couple days they'll be off to the beach with Jamie.  I'm sure I'll find some way to stay busy.

Sleepy Sunday Evening

March 22, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm a little sore from hiking, but it's a pleasant sort of feeling.  Today was relatively lazy and enjoyable, though I managed a bit of work here and there.

I made homemade whole wheat hamburger buns, and gluten free rice crispies.  The laundry was done and camping gear was packed away.  Sam's chore for the day was to help stain an antique rocking chair my mom gave me.  I also cleaned and did touch up painting in the basement office, which will eventually become Sam's bedroom.

I met Joanna and her kids at the grocery store, somehow managing to get everyone through the various aisles successfully.  Berry wanted to conversely remove my fingers and push me in circles.  Somehow we made it to the checkout where I realized I'd forgotten my wallet.  Once again, the buddy system of grocery shopping paid off.

We made hamburgers, home fries, and steamed green beans.  Duncan and Berry amused everyone after eating.  Sam seemed highly entertained by it all.

I got some sweet text messages from Emma telling me she loved me, which made me miss her all the more.  I'm excited I get to see her tomorrow and am taking the day off to hang out with the kids.

Return to Civilization

March 21, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm making crepes, sausages, and espresso, a clear sign that we've returned to sweet civilization.  Sam eagerly got on his laptop and is using Google Translate to talk in foreign languages with Chase and Josh.  He's gotten very comfortable with typing and chatting online.

The camping trip earned an "awesome" rating from Sam.  We hiked in about a mile and a half, meeting three people and a dog on the way up.  Eventually he wisely declared it was time to set up camp.  We wandered a ways into the woods and found an isolated gulley with a fairly level spot for the tent.  The tent went up pretty quickly and soon Sam was wanting to try to start a fire. 

It took a full hour, working away on the flint stones.  Eventually we switched tactics and had a blazing camp fire.  He was pretty happy using wood and kindling from around the forest floor, which was amazingly abundant.  I remembered to dig a proper fire pit and line it with stones, putting it out with a bunch of the water we'd brought along.

Same ate eight smores and made some hot chocolate.  I tried a single one, opting for cereal for dinner instead. We stayed up until nearly ten, chatting and feeding the fire.  I had a couple minor injuries poking myself in the dark with sticks, but otherwise it was a fun time chatting and watching the flames.  I talked about Summer and the Fall and all the different things that were going to happen.  He seemed fine with it all, and we switched topics to video games and science and the universe.

In the middle of the night it started pouring rain.  I kept waking up, somewhat uncomfortable, but Sam slept pretty well.  A bit before eight o'clock we got up, ate some trail mix, and hiked back to the car.

Having the Droid around was pretty great, as I kept updating the map, talked to Emma as we hiked back, and maintained a steady stream of text messages and photos with Joanna.  You can see some of the places we went, along with photos here. Good times.

Into the Wilderness

March 20, 2010 by Adam in Family

Joanna, Colette, Berry, and Duncan just left.  They dropped off a sleeping bag and stayed for lunch.  It was so amazingly sunny and warm that we all ate outside.  Duncan played World of Goo and Berry made cake in the sand box.

Sam ran about this morning getting everything packed, then took some time to make Half Life 2 mods.  He's just getting started, but is doing some surprisingly advanced things.

We're about ready to leave for our great hike.  I'm using an application for my Droid called My Tracks and theoretically you can look at our progress here.  Wish us luck.

Mocha Friday

March 19, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm at work, a mocha pleasantly warming my belly. I have a strange enthusiasm for work today, perhaps because I'm working with some new and interesting technology. Or maybe I'm just well caffienated.

I took Joanna to get her MRI yesterday, checking up on her back which was hurt in a car accident nearly twenty years ago. It's bothered her for all her life, and she's started to see what could be done to resolve it. There was an hour delay before they started, so we got home later than expected.

Berry and Duncan were enjoying the sun and playing outside. I put myself to work getting dinner and cleaning the kitchen. The kids ate well, but were a bit teary after dinner. There was some speculation about them coming down with something again, as they both have a bit of a cough.

I'm looking forward to seeing Sam tonight after work. We've got to get ready for our camping trip, loading up backpacks and getting suitably warm clothes together. It's supposed to be nice Saturday and pouring rain Sunday, so I'm planning on getting wet.

In case we vanish in the wilderness, we're going here. Joanna has a GPS locator for me too, so theoretically she can track the bear that ate us.

Easter Craftiness

March 18, 2010 by Adam in Family

Easter is one of my favorite holidays. I'm not really into bunnies, or chocolate, and the religious significance isn't really my thing. It's admittedly fun to get presents for the kids, though that's not really for me. I do, however, really like making Easter eggs.

In past years I've applied letter stickers to spell out words, painted dye on with brushes, and all manner of creative things. Jamie had a "two egg per person" rule, so I've had to really limit my creativity in the past.

This year I've gone all-out and have been saving eggshells for a few weeks now. When baking and making scrambled eggs, I'd poke a hole in the top in the bottom and blow the yolk out, just like my mom showed me when I was a kid. For Sam's morning egg, I've been saving the broken shells.

Last night I cooked up some beets and saved the juice, putting some of the eggs in it overnight. They turned out a pretty burgundy. Supposedly there's a whole list of other things I could try, from carrot tops to tumeric. We'll see how crafty I manage to get. I might end up making a half-dozen hard boiled eggs and trying them out, then getting the traditional color kit for my hollow eggs. Or maybe the kids will get into squishing blueberries to turn things purple. We'll see.

Early Bachelor Day

March 17, 2010 by Adam in Family

I sent the kids off to school this morning and they're off to Jamie's for a few days. It was a little hard to send Emma off as she isn't coming back until after her Portland trip. Hopefully Sam and I can call her in the fancy hotel from the top of the mountain we're hiking on Saturday.

Last night we went over to Joanna's after work. It made for a busy night, as we left immediately after I picked them up. It took a little while, but soon the kids were playing together and Joanna was putting me to work in the kitchen. Duncan really liked Sam, as Sam was being quite silly while playing on the Wii and Duncan kept cracking up. Emma had gotten all dressed up and straightened her hair, then got popcicle juice all over her face. It made for a nice contrast.

Otherwise the week has been going along nicely. Sam's big book project got wrapped up last night. Emma's halfway towards memorizing her spelling words. We discovered this morning that laundry levels were critical, so I started up a load before I left.

Joanna's taking one of those fun court-mandated parenting classes for three hours tonight, so I'll be at home doing practical things. The plan is to get bark-o-mulch, go food shopping, touch up the living room with paint, finish laundry, and do a bit of baking. I'd love to start staining the antique rocking chair my mom gave me. We'll see how far I get.

Seven O'Clock and Still Sunny

March 15, 2010 by Adam in Family

We just finished dinner, the daylight streaming in through our windows.  It seems odd how bright it is, and that it's time for Emma to hop in the bath momentarily.  We all had a lovely day.  The kids had a good time at my mom's house.  After church, Joanna went food shopping and then came over to hang out.  Her plan for the time switch was to have quiet time instead of a full nap, and then we all went out into the garden to play and work.  Sam went off with Josh and my mom to see Faust, which he later reported was okay though confusing.

Emma did a great job with the smaller kids, bringing them assorted books and checking up on them as they "napped."  Later when they were playing in the sand box, she kept them entertained and reported issues with sand and territorial disputes.  Duncan was fond of exploring the garden and Berry liked to be a bit mischevious with the sand and dirt.  We all managed to get the greens planted, which have been hardening off for the last couple weeks.  A short prayer to the Slug Queen will hopefully keep the tender plants safe.

We're winding down the day, hopefully getting the kids to bed early.  Time changes are always a little challenging.  Tomorrow is back to the daily routine, which is nice in its own way.  I did have a wonderful weekend, though.

It Feels Like Summer

March 14, 2010 by Adam in Family

It was such a beautiful day yesterday.  I picked up the kids in the morning and we had a massive breakfast of crepes, sausages, and whip cream with Joanna and her kids.  We played in the basement and ran about, enjoying the lazy day as much as we could.  Joanna played Taylor Swift and Beatles for Emma.  Berry and Duncan reveled in all the new toys.  Eventually we moved to the back yard and worked on gardening, putting down weed blocker and bark-o-mulch.  It's nearly ready for planting, which is terribly exciting.

er quiet time we ran around at the park, both kids on bikes.  Sam has gotten too big for his old one, so I got him on my bike.  We eventually got tuckered out and headed home, stopping by the neighbor's for a brief visit.  The kids played frisbee and Victoria told me she got a job doing science, which made her immensely happy.  Perhaps the economy is picking up again as she'd been looking for a year.

We picked up pizza and movies, with Emma having some rice noodles for herself.  Emma was strangely afraid of bad dreams last night, though she was fine this morning.  Sam and I watched Zombieland and he slept just great.

This morning was waffles and the last of the whip cream.  The kids are playing on the computers briefly before working on homework.  Next is church and taking the kids to my mom's house.  Sam and Josh are going to Faust this afternoon.  Joanna's visiting some time.  I'll probably get some gardening in.  All-in-all, should be another beautiful, sunny day doing things I love.

Back to the Pool

March 13, 2010 by Adam in Family

When Sam and Emma were little, I'd take them to Stewart Aquatic Center every Friday.  It was the Easter Seal pool back then, having changed owners somewhere along the years.  It's singular claim to fame was that it was the warmest pool in town, great for little kids and older folks.  I watched life guards change, kids grow up, and the pool itself being remodeled.

Joanna couldn't get a babysitter for tonight, so we took her kids to the pool.  Duncan was fairly tentative, though Berry was very excited.  I zoomed her about the pool until Duncan wanted in on the excitement, and they both had a good time.  Now they're full of cheese, strawberries, and milk, and are going to bed relatively well.  Joanna took some cough syrup and hopefully she'll get some rest tonight.

I talked briefly with my own kids today.  Emma called and left a message about how she misses me and loves me and wants to play this weekend.  I talked to Sam only briefly, but he was very polite.  I miss them and am tremendously excited to see them in the morning, massive quantities of whip cream at the ready.

Mocha Friday

March 12, 2010 by Adam in Family

I finished up my usual mocha, and am busy munching on carrots and trying to organize my life.

Last night was a bit of a whirlwind. I left work and went straight to TrueValue hardware to pick up all manner of things for the house and garden. The paint should be mixed by this weekend, which means I could work on touching up all my spackle marks if the weather is bad. Next stop was gas and food shopping, with Joanna texting me to pick up some milk while I was there. I'm loving my Droid, going through my online shopping list and staying in communication with everyone.

After food shopping, I headed off to Jamie's house for what has become a weekly computer servicing event. Sam got Photoshop on his computer and the printer got hooked up to Emma's computer. I also had Jamie sign an IRS document. It turns out that the 2008 taxes were missing some things and we owe $460. Fortunately we should also be getting money back from last year, so it's not that big a deal.

After going home, dropping off everything, and cursing the dishwasher for not cleaning very well again, I packed my things and headed down to Creswell. It was a rough night at Joanna's. Berry and Duncan took a long time to get to bed, Joanna was coughing all night, and then the kids were up early. Fortunately everyone was in a better mood in the morning, and Duncan informed me there would be no Tears of Suffering for me to feast upon.

In terms of the weekend, I'm not sure if we'll pick up the piano we found on Craigslist, as the woman who had it hasn't gotten back to me. Tonight is swimming and tomorrow I get the kids. For those brave enough to handle the rain, there's endless gardening work. Otherwise it may just be playing inside, painting, and cleaning up the downstairs office. I also assured the kids when I saw them that I'd have a hearty breakfast with way too much whip cream. Good times.

Swing Dancing and Growing Seeds

March 11, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's hard to believe it's already Thursday. The week has moved along surprisingly quickly. Having the kids was great. Sam's been plugging away at his massive book project, creating a crossword puzzle and wanted poster for Fellowship of the Rings. It's a fairly major reading project, and he has to put in some dedicated time each night. Sam's been very responsible with getting things done though, which is pretty cool. Emma's been working on spelling. Monday she was giving herself pineapple chunks, one for every word she spelled right. I was busy cooking dinner and helping Sam, so the self-rewards were quite helpful. She's also been really into playing wizardry this week, carrying her wand and wizardry book everywhere. Tuesday we went to my mom's house for dinner. Sam hung out with Josh and Emma was amazingly helpful to my mom in the kitchen. It was low-key and pleasant. In the morning I got the kids off to school and they'll be at Jamie's house until Saturday morning. Joanna and I went out swing dancing last night, which was lots of fun. There was a live band and a good turnout. Upon our return home, we looked at assorted pictures Joanna had tucked away before collapsing to bed. It was a bit of a rough morning, with Duncan spending quite awhile in timeout and not really calming down until he got to school. It's hard to separate which issues are due to typical growing up changes and what's from all his family changes. His dad moved to New York only a couple months ago, so it's all still pretty fresh for him. The best we can do is give him stability, structure, and reassurance that he'll be okay. When I came to work this morning, some of the tomato seeds I'd planted yesterday had already started to sprout. Sadly there's nothing so far from the seeds Emma and I planted on Sunday. Hopefully we'll see them pop up soon. Tonight is my bachelor night, full of food shopping, getting paint, and possibly stopping by Jamie's for computer support. This weekend we may end up moving a piano Joanna found on craigslist for free, along with a bit of gardening and hanging out.

Tired Sunday Night

March 08, 2010 by Adam in Family

I didn't quite live up to my impossibly high expectations this weekend, but I still managed to do quite a bit.  The massive dirt pile in my driveway is gone now, most of it in the raised garden beds.  The rest is in the four big pots full of blueberries on the patio and the hole I planted the pear tree in.  It felt good to start my garden after putting it off for eight years.  I had good intentions, but never quite managed to power wash all the things I wanted to power wash.  Still, the computer desk from the basement was moved up and cleaned.  Laundry was done and floors were swept.  Life seems relatively under control.

Saturday morning I picked up the kids and stuffed them full of crepes, sausage, and whip cream.  Next I put them to work digging until Joanna came by.  She got to do the fun part of holding the tree as I piled in dirt.  I kept working away, moving dirt and potting things while the kids had a little downtime.  Somehow I stumbled into the shower, cleaned off the worst of it, and gathered up the kids to go to my dad's birthday party.

Joanna, Berry, and Duncan came as well, and I introduced them to my big, extended family and friends.  Sam hung out with the teenage boys and ate steak for dinner, so much that he turned down chocolate cake later.  Emma was amazingly social, somehow getting Jenny to invite her to a pedicure.  Duncan and Berry discovered Jordan's room and enjoyed playing with the dozens of dinosaur toys. As for me, I enjoyed visiting with everyone and wishing my dad another happy year.

As night fell, we bid our farewells.  I got Emma to bed and Sam and I stayed up watching lost.

On Sunday we had another massive breakfast, with Emma trying my tofu and egg concoction.  Sam went off with Jamie and the gang to see Alice in Wonderland.  I took Emma to rendezvous with Joanna and her crew to go clothes shopping.  We had a wonderful time drinking Berry's Tears of Suffering which sprung eternal every time she was denied buying yet another thing.  Eventually we retired to Applebee's for lunch which had considerably less screaming.

John came over to play with Sam while Emma and I did a library run.  I returned to yet more household chores and picking up pizza for a special Sunday Pizza and Mythbusters.  Joanna and her kids came by, ate relatively well, and then played cheerfully in the basement until it was time to return.

Now Emma's in the bath, Sam's putting his lunch together, and I'm thinking of all the things I need to do before bed.  Life's very full and busy, but happy too.

Quiet Mocha Friday

March 05, 2010 by Adam in Family

I find myself alone in my big, empty house, a fire crackling next to me.  I'm sitting at the antique library table, staring at my massive TV/monitor and sipping a freshly made mocha.  I do like the quiet on occasion, though I keenly miss having small children scurrying about.  Banana bread is cooking in the oven.  Last night was sweet potato casserole, which is practically candy with the amount of butter, cream, and brown sugar I put in.  Man does it taste good, though.  I've yet to actually get out of my pajamas yet, though fortunately I have some time before I need to leave.

Yesterday was my bachelor day, which I filled with cooking and Skyping the kids.  Sam called as I drove home from food shopping, asking about gifting video games online.  I did what I could, but mostly I listened to he and Chase talking video games and playing video games as he never did turn on his video.  Eventually Emma connected with me and we proceeded to chat for an hour.  There was a lot of singing and dancing and typing messages to each other.  We both left feeling a little sad, but it was good to reconnect with her while she was away.

As for tonight, I think Joanna and I will end up at a gardening store and perhaps move some dirt around.  I was hoping to fill the rest of the raised beds last night, but darkness fell and my motivation went with it.  In time we'll get the garden put together.  The water spigot is nearly ready to be installed.  Plant placement planning is underway.  It's all very exciting.

Tomorrow is dad's birthday shindig at Jenny's.  As usual, I have no idea what to get him.  Joanna and her kids should come along as well, so it will be quite the introduction to my somewhat large and extended family.  It'll prepare her for Easter.

As for the rest of the weekend, I'm hoping to just hang out with the kids.  Perhaps Emma and I can visit the library.  If it's nice, I'd like to get outside for a hike or gardening.  After last weekend's practice, Emma's nearly to the point where she can ride a bike by herself.  Perhaps I can get both kids down to the park for more of that.  Regardless, it'll be nice to spend some time with them.

Hospitals and Song Circles

March 04, 2010 by Adam in Family

Wednesday was interesting. Berry's school thought she had pink eye, so Joanna and I took her kids over to the hospital to see a pediatrician. Berry was fine, just a cold causing goopier eyes than normal. Even though I work for PeaceHealth, visiting the hospital is a rarity. The views are amazing.

After tasty split pea soup for dinner, Joanna and I headed over to song circle, which was just a few blocks from my house. There were fun songs and uplifting songs. I picked If I Were a Rich Man from Fiddler on the Roof, as well as Don't Put Your Finger Up Your Nose from that childhood album we played endlessly. The hostess also sold this amazing sippable chocolate that was delicious.

I missed my kids, trying to see if anyone was around for Skyping last night. Emma called, but had a hard time saying anything beyond "hello, hello, hello." Maybe I can call her after school when she's not so tired.

I'm being surprisingly productive these days. My bills are all switched to auto pay. The water spigot for the garden beds should be installed today. Hopefully I can finish my taxes and get the rest of the dirt moved over. Maybe I can even power wash the driveway and move the computer desk upstairs. We'll see how much energy I have.

Gnomes and Cookies

March 02, 2010 by Adam in Family

The weekend has come and gone, and I'm already mostly through my Monday work day. It's felt fairly productive, paying bills and getting 3 cubic yards of soil ordered for the new garden beds. Oh, and I actually worked too. I picked up the kids Saturday morning and proceeded to make my usual crepes and whip cream extravaganza. I offered to take them to Splash!, but instead Sam wanted to invite Chase over to play. The kids ran about while I hung out with Emma, doing house work and getting my life somewhat organized. It was so nice that we spent a lot of time outside and I put down cardboard at the bottom of the garden beds. Eventually Chase went off with his mom and the kids and I entertained ourselves with the gnome candles grandma Sue gave them. Joanna and her kids came over after nap where we played, ate pizza, and watched How It's Made. It's not quite up to Mythbuster standards, but it was educational nonetheless. Everyone liked the cookies afterward, which ended up misshapen but incredibly tasty. Mostly the cookie dough was the glue that kept the chocolate together. Sunday was church and taking the kids to Jamie's to see grandpa Ray. I went food shopping and hung out with Joanna, got the kids, and Emma was tremendously helpful making Thai noodles. It was nice having my kiddos and I'm looking forward to getting them in a few minutes when quitting time rolls around.

The Anal Scope

February 27, 2010 by Adam in Family

I had a rather interesting Friday afternoon.  Joanna came in to work, though she was still rather sick, and started complaining of dizziness.  I suggested Urgent Care, and we wandered over to the hospital to experience our healthcare system first hand.

Relatively quickly, they got her into a room where a doctor chatted with her briefly, and then assorted people came in to perform a wide variety of tests.  The EKG guy could have done standup comedey and quit his day job.  The blood draw took longer than desired.  The CAT scan was ominous but otherwise pretty quick.  Eventually the doctor wandered back in again, letting Joanna know that everything was fine.  His guess was a mix of a mild concussion and the tail end of a viral illness.

Joanna was a trooper throughout and I think we were reassured that everything was fine.  Her dizziness has faded and this morning just has a headache.  Hopefully the tea, banana bread, and ibuprofen will take care of that.  It was interesting spending an afternoon in a hospital room, which I almost never do.  Our favorite part was the drawer labeled "Anal Scope," which quickly became the punchline of every joke.  Internet safety tip: don't Google it.

For our standard Friday date night, we just hung out at my house.  Arrested Development cures all ills.

I'm going to run off to get my kids momentarily.  If the weather holds, maybe I can get them helping with the garden beds, which are stacked in my driveway.  I might go to Splash! too, though no one was sounding particularly enthusiastic about it.  Tonight is pizza and How It's Made, which could turn into our new tradition.

Breakfast with Mom Friday

February 26, 2010 by Adam in Family

Thursday night was Bachelor Night at the Miller household.  I left work, picked up some cash, and paid for four raised beds that were dropped off at my house last night.  Next was heading to Jamie's to fix computers.  Emma showed off her loose tooth, I said hello to Dave and Kirsten who were over for his birthday.  Sam helped me test Skype until it started working and grownups were dancing silly in front of webcams.

After that, I spent an hour shopping, getting way too much food since I was so hungry.  I'm going to have to force myself to stick to only items on my list as I have a tendency to stockpile for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.  Or at least that's what I tell myself.  After returning home, I worked on laundry, dishes, and made some banana bread for a still-sick Joanna.  I've fortunately remained in fine health, which I attribute to exercise, clean living, and general awesomeness.  I stumbled into bed around ten, sleeping wonderfully well in a very quiet house.

This morning I had breakfast with my mom.  No mochas, but plenty of coffee.  At the moment I feel as if I have the strength of a thousand men and the wisdom of the sages.  It certainly helps me type fast, in any case.  We had a good chat about all manner of things, once again affirming that my mom is a smart, nice person.  My opinion was helped by the fact that she picked up the bill.

I'll probably go over to Joanna's tonight as she's still feeling a little under the weather.  Berry and Duncan will likely clean Colette and I's clocks while playing Zingo.  They enjoy doing the Zingo dance when they win, which eventually both of them seem to do.  Tomorrow I get to pick up my kiddos and hang out with them.  I think we'll try pizza and How It's Made, as we've finally run out of Mythbusters.  It should be fun.

Bachelor Day

February 25, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm generally on my own for Thursdays. It's a little odd, being away from the kids and Joanna and left to my own devices. Still, I appreciate being able to work on my seemingly vast list of projects without interruption. Tonight I'm hoping to get the garden beds delivered to my house, along with food shopping and cleaning out the basement.

It was an odd day yesterday. Joanna and I went to visit the Charlemagne French immersion school, scoping out places for Duncan in the Fall. We both really liked it and I had fun trying to read the various French signs on the walls. I could probably handle first grade in French without too much trouble. Maybe I'll go back.

Afterward, Joanna got really sick, finally catching what Berry and Duncan had for the last few days. I took her home early, where she spent a lot of time throwing up and laying in bed. Colette, the kids, and I hung out drawing, eating dinner, and playing games. Joanna briefly emerged to help with bedtime, and then went back to sleep.

There was some brief excitement when she got up later to get herself some apple juice and passed out. I rushed into the kitchen to find her sprawled dramatically on the floor, broken glass around her. Fortunately there were no cuts and she was relatively unharmed, though I forbade her to get anything for herself again.

I left my cell phone at work, which means I missed talking to my kids last night. Emma's first tooth came out, according to a message on my answering machine. I tried Skyping Sam last night, but his microphone wasn't working. We typed a few things, made some funny gestures, and signed off. I think I know how to fix the problem now and may suggest it tonight when I'm home.

This morning Joanna got some good news on her ongoing court case, though it will still likely drag on for months. We celebrated our three-month anniversary today, albeit in a fairly low-key fashion due to vomiting and exhaustion. She's also staying home today, trying to get some rest.

Hopefully everyone will be in better spirits by the weekend and we can have a bit of fun. I'm excited to see the kids again.

Wednesday Already?

February 24, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's just been Emma and I for the last few days.  She was worn out Monday night, so she went to bed early.  Yesterday morning I got her out of bed by the promise of laughing baby videos on the big screen.  She instead wanted to watch cute bunny videos on the TV I hooked up to my computer.  It entertained her enough that she let me brush her hair without too many complaints.

We worked on spelling, chatted, read books, and did singularly ordinary things.  It was very nice.

I continue to work on house projects, trying to get some garden beds delivered.  Furniture still needs to be rearranged and I'm generally working on the living room lately.  It's a good place for the kids to hang out while I cook dinner.  Since it's by the fireplace, it makes it warm and cozy.  The latest was to disassemble, move, and reassemble the library table, put the TV on it, and hook up my computer.  It means I'm now typing this post and the letters are huge.

The kids are going to Jamie's today, back Saturday morning.  I'll miss them.  In the meantime, I'll be visiting with Joanna and her kids, as well as working on the house.  My list of projects is massive, but achievable.

Back to the Daily Grind

February 22, 2010 by Adam in Family

We're back to work, the exciting weekend a fleeting memory.  Sam and I hung out Saturday night, chatting and playing games together.  We were both thrilled when I fixed the graphics issue on his computer.  Evidently his fancy video card was turned off in the BIOS and just had to turn it on. 

Sunday morning I made crepes for the kids and Jamie took Sam off to Bend.  Emma and I went to the library and I dropped her off at my mom's while going to church with Joanna and her family.  Emma was excited when I returned, showing off the treasures grandma Sue had given her.  My mom nicely gave me an unfinished antique table and rocking chair.  More project work for me, but I love doing that sort of thing and the style is excellent.

I rewired the home network while Emma watched a movie, and then Joanna and her kids came over.  We played in the basement, Joanna being a good sport and giving birth to babies to the delight of children.  Child labor was enlisted to start seedlings.  Eventually we all went to PF Chang's where Emma got to watch Berry and Duncan have assorted meltdowns due to lack of apple juice.  For the most part though, the smaller kids were cheerful and playful and entertaining.

Emma was a good sport overall, enjoying the role of the older kid for a change.  She's still not quite sure what to do with the occasional screaming, but she liked helping and having kids around that will actually play pretend with her.

Joanna and I would occasionally look at each other with an amused smirk.  The days ahead will be chaotic, but it'll be a happy chaos.


February 21, 2010 by Adam in Family

Friday night Joanna and I went to listen to Chris Kokesh at Tsunami Books.  The music was good, bluegrass and folk music.  It felt good to get out and do something grown-up and fun.  Even better, the venue was a used book store.  Sadie will be pleased to know that I picked up Graceling, which I had to return to the library before I finished.

I woke up this morning, got the kids, and made a massive breakfast for Joanna's and my respective children.  It was epic, but fun, with crepes and sausages and far too much whip cream.  We hung out, inside and out.  After lunch Emma and I went to the Asian Celebration, had a noodle bowl, and did some crafts.  Eventually we got home and the kids and I spend the afternoon outside.

I managed to do some yard work, set out the patio furniture, and swept a little obsessively.  Having such warm, sunny weather in February is exciting and I'm having far too much fun getting ready for spring.

Mocha Friday

February 19, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's Mocha Friday. I seem to have misplaced my badge, but my good looks and charm appear to have gotten me through the front door and to my cubicle.

Last night I made corn chowder for Joanna and then we went off to look at the kindergarden at Ridgeline Monessori, the third in our series of tours. This one had an elaborate presentation with video, quite different than Crest or the Little French School which were more low-key. I also ran into assorted people I knew at the other places, and I could see the little wheels turning as they tried to figure out why I was there with Joanna. Sometimes it's more fun to leave them guessing. The real challenge is finding a place that lets you drop kids off before 8 a.m. so she can get to work. So far there's only one.

Sam called and was having problems with his computer, so I went over to Jamie's house. Emma immediately glommed on to me, clearly tired, and wanting to go home with me. Eventually we calmed her down, Jamie read a bedtime story, and I laid down next to her until she went to sleep. I also got their Internet working reliably, along with the wireless router. Sam was happy. Hopefully this weekend I can get Emma's computer set up too.

I went shopping afterward, then cleaned out some planter trays for starting seeds. I'm working on getting planter beds and irrigation ready for the garden.

This weekened we're going to the Asian Celebration, hanging out with Joanna and her family, and Sam's off on Sunday with Jamie to Bend.

Joanna's Kids

February 18, 2010 by Adam in Family

Sam and Emma are off at Jamie's house until Saturday morning.  There was some tense calls at work from Sam when his Internet connection didn't work, but fortunately it was all straightened out.  I had hoped to Skype the kids tonight, but they never got on once I was around.

I went down to Joanna's tonight and helped make crepes for dinner, then chased children about.  It helps a little when I miss my own.

Back to Work

February 15, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work, staring at code until my eyes get blurry.

Sunday was pleasant and low-key. Sam woke up crazy early, I told him to go back to bed, and he slept until close to 11 a.m. Emma and I had a pleasant evening of puttering about and getting her computer ready to be moved over to Jamie's house. Emma picked out the computer case she wanted and I bought a new webcam to hook up to it for Skype. Jamie called to inform me that Comcast fixed the Internet at her house, so everything should be ready to go.

I got Sam up and took the kids to my mom's house, then went off to church. As usual, it was uplifting and made for a nice time to think through my life. When I went to collect the kids, Emma was mopping away and wouldn't leave until she was finished. The kids and I headed back, briefly played, and then went down to visit Joanna.

The kids ran around in the back yard as Joanna and I made shepard's pie and chocolate mousse. Everything turned out really tasty, and the mousse was completely belly-filling. All the kids seemed to get along relatively well, once again. Sam led Duncan and Emma marching around the house, and later helped Berry put together puzzle pieces.

Jamie and I had our last counseling session this morning. Other than the spousal support stuff, we seem to generally be in agreement and things continue to move along. I'm at the point where I just want to hand over the spousal support decision-making process to professionals. I don't feel very capable of figuring it out myself, and it seems to be a source of contention between Jamie and I. It'll be nice when that's dealt with.

Sadie sent along this picture of my great grandmother and I, swearing I was holding an early prototype of my Droid. Maybe so, as the cute little device has felt strangely familiar in my eager little hands.

Kids and Droids

February 14, 2010 by Adam in Family

It was a full but pleasant day.  The weather helped, feeling more like spring than anything else.  Joanna and I got the kids together, eating and playing and generally entertaining ourselves.  Joanna left her practice guitar here, which seemed to mesmerize Emma completely.  Berry and Duncan enjoyed drawing, playing with toys, and exploring the house.

They stayed until naptime, and then my new Droid arrived.  Joanna's been horribly jealous.  I've been playing with it, getting into all the nifty features and actually making a phone call or two. 

In the afternoon, Sam hung out with the neighbor boys and Emma and I went to get her a new computer case.  It was pizza and Mythbusters, the second to the last before the season's end.  After I got Emma to bed, Sam helped me pull out the guts of Emma's computer and put it into her new case.

Tomorrow I'm making a hearty breakfast for the kids, taking the kids to my mom's while I go to church, hang out with the kids until afternoon when we're going over to Joanna's for Valentine's Day dinner.  The kids are getting shepard's pie and it's chocolate mousse for dessert.  Tasty.

Purple, Purple, Purple

February 12, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm finishing the last few drops of my Friday mocha.  It warms the heart and fortifies the spirit.  Life is a mix of wonderful and frustrating, as has been the norm these last few months.  I was up in the middle of the night tossing and turning, working through things in my brain.

The kids stayed over at Jamie's house for the first time on Wednesday night, reporting that all went well.  My experience has been that they've been generally cheerful, though Jamie told me yesterday that she was being somewhat babyish.  Getting Emma's homework done continues to be challenging.  I was cooking breakfast and helping with spelling, making up little songs for different words.  I hope it sticks.

I took yesterday off to get to all the things I haven't been able to do.  I made it to Target to pick up some kitchen shelves, a laundry hamper, heating pad, and other miscellaneous things.  I talked to the irrigation guy in hopes of getting the planter beds in soon.  Jamie and I talked about divorce stuff more, continuing to agree on everything but spousal support.  The numbers she was asking for were nearly twice what we'd previously discussed, so we're going back to talk to lawyers again.  It's frustrating not having any guidelines, so I'm relying on legal advice to figure out what's fair and reasonable.

I hope this can be a good and calm weekend.  Jamie has the kids again tonight, and I'm picking them up in the morning.  I'm thinking Joanna and I will get our respective clans together for breakfast.  The play room is looking far too tidy as of late.  Sam, Josh, and I are planning a Saturday night gaming session.  Sam's been getting into online gaming, setting up an online group and chatting with his friends.  His typing has improved tremendously, so I continue to encourage it.

My mom and Josh are having the kids for lunch on Sunday when I go to church.  Other than that, I just wanted to hang out with the kids and enjoy playing with them.  If the weather is at all nice, maybe we can get outside and hike about. 

I took a short video of the kids playing their respective video games last night.  I love the little songs Emma sings to herself.  Plus her reading is improving.

Sorting Out the New Schedule

February 09, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's been interesting trying to figure out the new schedule, which I think is slowly settling down. It's been busy, but I'm getting the hang of coming home, making dinner, helping with homework, and getting the kids to bed. Waking in the morning, it's much of the same, getting up an hour early to get myself put together. I've resorted to leaving myself sticky notes on the refrigerator that say "laundry" or "recycling" so that things go along smoothly.

The plan this week is to get a phone that synchs to my Google calendar and sends reminders to me. Basically my pants will be bossing me around, which I guess is just like my college years.

The kids start spending the night at Jamie's this week, Wednesday night and Friday night this week and Wednesday through Friday next. Hopefully Jamie can swing by my house after school on Wednesday to pick up laptops and library books, and then I can get them on Saturday morning when I pick them up. There are lots of coordination issues to sort through, not to mention how strange it will feel to have the kids away for three days straight.

I think everyone is doing relatively well. Sam was up until nearly midnight last night, voraciously reading one of the books I got him. He said he was a little sick this morning, so I'm going to keep an eye on him and see how he's doing. I had a touch of a headache myself last night, though tea and Advil have done the trick.

I need to do some more dinner planning, I think. Last night was fresh made hummus and nan bread, along with beets. The kids amazingly thought the beets were okay, but that the hummus had too much garlic. The last of the chocolate chip cookies vanished. I'd like to make sweet potato casserole, with lots of brown sugar and oats on top. Maybe I can find some time tonight.

Both the kids got their report cards yesterday, doing quite well overall. Math appears to be a strong subject for both of them. Sam's also doing well in science and class participation. Emma's right on the cusp of being able to read well, and was telling us the warnings of her vitamin bottle at breakfast.

Worn Out on a Sunday Night

February 08, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's been a busy and interesting weekend.  Emma's in bed, Sam's watching Battlestar Galactica next to me, and I'm worn out.

Saturday was somewhat exciting, Joanna and her kids came over to play and have lunch.  It was a chaotic but happy affair, the play room turning into a giant mess by the end.  Cooking for six was fun as well, industrial production of pasta and side dishes.  Emma got along pretty well with Berry and Duncan, directing them in a music video to everyone's delight.

ded up being late getting the kids and missed Destin's birthday party.  I was pretty worn out by the time we got home.  I worked on computer stuff for Jamie's house, gave the kids a snack, and got everyone outside for gardening.  It was a beautiful day, and it was immensely satisfying to pull weeds and get things ready for spring.

Emma and I went to the library, returning home with loads literary treasures.  Dinner was an assortment of leftovers, though I made beets for my salad and cookies for dessert.  Emma made some new pastels for the fridge while Sam and I worked on his book report.

I'm worn out, but all is well.


Nearly Mocha Friday

February 05, 2010 by Adam in Family

Okay, this is a lazy late-night post because I don't want to have to go downstairs to the basement to upload photos in the morning.

Okay, I managed to actually get the kids to school, get my Friday Mocha, and make it to work. The change in the morning routine is settling in. I drive a different route to work, eat at different times, and do the entire morning routine with the kids. This morning Emma decided she needed to Skype someone, and Joanna was the only one available. Soon she was playing Rock Band drums for Berry and Duncan while they ate breakfast and I made waffles. Though it was silly chaos, eventually the kids got out the door and off to school.

The last few days have gone fairly well. Sam helped me disassemble the shelves in my old closet and reassemble them in the play room. The house is slowly feeling like it's coming together. Alma cleaned yesterday, which felt really nice. I keep checking in with the kids, asking them how they're doing. Last night at dinner I gave them the "sucky" to "best day ever" scale," represented by the table and a ketchup bottle held over my head. They were in the middle or a little higher, which isn't bad for a school night.

My endless lists continue to be chipped away. I picked up Sam's contacts, mailed Seraph's hard drive, and am managing to take care of all the house work. Tonight I'm going food shopping. I'm hoping to help Jamie with her Internet access this weekend.

As for me, I'm going to Joanna's tonight for stir fry. Tomorrow we have a play date with her and her kids. I'm going to try to get to Destin's birthday party on Sunday. Theoretically Jim and Judy are coming to visit Jamie this weekend, and I think the kids will visit them. Details are still fuzzy.

Life's good.

Semi-Single Parenthood

February 04, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's been a good week. The initial day or two was a little tricky, mostly just the challenge of getting off work, picking up the kids from Jamie's house, and getting dinner ready in time. The kids were slightly sillier than normal on Monday. I figure that letting them be a little loud was a fine way of working out emotions. I let Sam see if he could get Emma laughing so hard that milk shot out her nose, but drew the line at shooting out noodles.

The house feels increasingly put together. The couch is great, and a mixer, blender, and potato masher arrived from Amazon this morning. Emma had a great time unwrapping it. I've also been figuring out the new routine, getting up early to get ready for work, and then getting the kids up. I've been making waffles from scratch the last couple mornings, which I may continue to do on occasion just for fun. I'm still struggling on finding time to help Emma with spelling, though fortunately Jamie's been doing that when they go to her house after school.

Joanna and I went out to the monthly song circle last night. I probably wouldn't have sought out and done it myself, but I find I'm having a great time. I picked the song Barrett's Privateers, which is always entertaining. Jamie and Joanna also met for the first time last night, there was no fisticuffs, and so I'm declaring it a success.

I'm reinstalling my work computer today. Windows 7 sure looks pretty, but my critical software all needs to be installed. It promises to be a long day ahead of me.

One Red Couch

February 01, 2010 by Adam in Family

I got the red couch moved into the living room at lunch, courtesy of my fine coworker Chuck who traded me jam for the privilege. I think tonight I'll order my kids to sit on the couch and watch TV in order to properly break it in.

Joanna sent along some pictures from the dance marathon over the weekend. Emma in particular had a great time.


Ah, Transitions

February 01, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm sitting on a throw pillow, two feet away from the big screen TV which is hooked up to the netbook.  I'm generally moved into the upstairs and trying to sort out how to be quiet while I get my breakfast together and try to get ready for the day.  In a few moments I'll hop in the shower, wake the kids, and navigate them towards school while I put together myself and get out the door.

Yesterday was very full.  The kids seemed cheerful in the morning.  Sadie called over Skype and read books to the kids.  They then played "Where are you?" with Sadie, covering the webcam and then putting her in odd places around the house.  At one point all three of them were in a sleeping bag and I was joking with Sam about hiding college girls from me already.

The kids went off to my mom's to play with Josh and I went to church.  Jamie wanted to spend time with the kids, so she picked them up from my mom's and spent the afternoon with them.  I went over to Joanna's house, entertained her kids and mom, and then we went couch shopping at Gateway.  There was a pretty great deal on a red couch, $322.  I'm going to try to trade strawberry jam to see if a coworker will help transport it for me.  Otherwise I guess we try to tie it to the roof of Joanna's Subaru.

Later that night, Joanna and her kin descended on my mom's house.  Everyone seemed to get along pretty well, Emma teaching Duncan math and Sam smiling at Berry's two year-old logic.  Fortunatley there were lots of toys and lots of dessert.

Today is the start of the new routine.  We'll see how it goes.

Moving Day

January 31, 2010 by Adam in Family

Jamie has moved into her new house, which was as surreal and strange an experience as you'd think.  Emma woke me up with a dream that someone had killed Sam, she then killed that person, and then Sam came back to life and gave her hugs and kisses.  After getting up, I made crepes for the kids and then people began descending upon the house.

The move itself was handled by other people, while I kept an eye on the kids and cleaned after things were moved.  Within a couple hours, the house seemed very empty.  Emma went to Jamie's house for food, while Sam stayed in the basement and played on the computer.  As for me, I frantically cleaned, vacuuming and mopping and scrubbing paint marks off the floor.  After awhile, things seemed more under control and the rooms were mostly functional.  The only exception is the living room, which seems incredibly empty.

My mom brought Emma back and the two of us went over to the U of O where they had a dance marathon to raise money for the Children's Miracle Network.  Joanna was there taking pictures for her job.  They had a huge family room with tons of toys and games.  Sam and I played Rock Band, and Emma was adopted by a big group of young college women.  At one point, she impressively twirled three hula hoops.  The dance itself was really loud, so we only went in for a few minutes.

Afterward, we went to Market of Choice to pick up pizza.  I then hooked up the netbook to the big t.v. and we watched Mythbusters.  The pizza was eaten on the air mattress, which I hyperventelated while filling up.  Emma went to bed without any problems.  Sam and I played zombie fighting games with Josh.  Now I'm tuckered out.

Tomorrow looks to be a busy day, with breakfast, church, couch shopping, and dinner at my mom's house.  All good stuff, though.

Mocha Friday

January 29, 2010 by Adam in Family

I just finished my last gulp of cafe mocha, the taste of that delicious elixir still lingering on my tongue. When change is rampant, it's reassuring to have the constant of Mocha Friday.

Emma got 92% on her spelling test last week. Everyone worked really hard to help make it happen. The kids have both been doing very well in school despite the changes at home. It speaks well of Jamie and I getting along and keeping the focus on the kids.

I think the last of the contentious issues are getting sorted out between Jamie and myself. I came to the conclusion that I wanted to finalize the transitional spousal support issues and get something written down that we can both depend on, going with the numbers we talked about months ago. My timing wasn't great, as Jamie's in the middle of her move, but she said she'd get back to me afterward. My guess is that they'll be a little different, but Jamie's been relatively reasonable so I suspect we'll come to some settlement. I'd like to get that finalized so everyone can plan their futures accordingly.

The big move is tomorrow, which is surreal to contemplate. I'm shopping for furniture tonight, hoping to replace some of the critical missing items. My work schedule will shift from 8 to 5. Dinner, laundry, cleaning, and all the ordinary things will be solely my responsibility. The reality of single parenthood is certainly sinking in. The kids seem fine about everything, more than I am, though I'm not sure they completely understand all the implications of two households. I'm sure we'll sort it out in time.

Sam's loving his new laptop. He was up late chatting with Josh and improving his typing skills, watching videos over the new high-speed connection, and playing Left 4 Dead with Josh and laughing hysterically. Saturday night we're planning a three person game after Emma goes to bed, which sounds really fun.

Life's good.

Fancy Dinner

January 27, 2010 by Adam in Family

The kids and I went out to dinner with my work crew at Beppe & Gianni's. Emma insisted that I dress up in a tie and stuffed a gold pen in my pocket. My out-of-town coworker Summer is enamored with Emma, and the two of them had a great time hanging out together. My boss Glen gave us three rockets, cleaning out his attic. One was seven feet tall and is currently propped up in Sam's room. I think it was an offer I couldn't refuse.

Emma went down quick last night, her belly full of spaghetti and salmon that Summer kept feeding her. We got home so late that I put her in the shower and then straight to bed.

The dishwasher continues to be broken. I did all the dishes by hand last night, which wasn't too bad except for my overall lack of time. By the time I got downstairs to check on Sam, he'd made his lunch, watched Battlestar Galactica while stair stepping, and asked if he could watch another. Since it was getting late, I nixed that idea and he played online games with Josh for a few minutes before he was off to bed. By the time I went upstairs to turn in myself, he was reading a National Geographic.

Life feels very busy, and I occasionally stress about finances. Last night I dreamed that Sadie leaned forward and said, "Adam, you have a lot of money." Somehow it reassures me even now.

Yurt Adventures

January 24, 2010 by Adam in Family

Joanna and I are back from the coast, having a great time in the yurt.  It was surprisingly roomy, with power and heat and light.  I really want to take the kids over sometime, as they'd have a good time semi-roughing it.  I finally used the tiny gast stove my mom gave me one Christmas.  It screwed on to a tiny propane tank and I was able to heat up soup and make huge volumes of tea.

We walked the dunes this morning and made it to the folk festival.  We weren't able to stay too long, but the music was pretty good.  There's something able fiddles and banjos that make me inherently happy.

I came back into town this afternoon, finally getting a chance to see Jamie's new house.  I hope the kids like their new rooms and get settled down.  The move date is next Saturday, so my house should be much emptier fairly soon.  I feel the urge to buy couches and shelves coming on.

Emma's in the bath, singing silly songs about daddo.  I best get her tucked in and off to sleep.

Mocha Beach Friday

January 22, 2010 by Adam in Family

I got the kids off to school and I'm waiting for Joanna to arrive so we can make soup, pack up, and head to Florence.  A day away from the craziness of ordinary life sounds blissful.

Sam continues to stoically deal with his contacts.  The last two mornings he's gotten one ine, but relied on me to put in the other.  Fortunately getting them out has gotten easier after I showed him the technique I use.

Jamie and I divided up our finances yesterday, spending over an hour with a very nice person at our bank.  It feels good to be able to spend money again.  Soon I'll need to buy furniture and such to replace everything that's missing.

Emma proudly showed me how she can make oatmeal last night.  I'm hoping to recruit the kids into assisting with breakfast.

Safety Kids

January 20, 2010 by Adam in Family

The week's halfway over.  My tattoo is scabbing up and I'm eager to see what lies beneath.  It's interesting having such a visible mark on my body.  Sam declared it "awesome" at the dinner table the other night, so at least I have that vote towards coolness.

Sam continues to love his new laptop, asking to come downstairs to say goodnight to it.  He's been playing online games with his friend Chase and working on his typing skills to chat.  I think I finally found the right motivation to improve his keyboarding.

Emma's Safety Kids musical is tonight at her school.  She's a little nervous about performing, so we'll see how it goes.  She did pretty well at her Winter Festival.

The boxes in the living room continue to multiply and theoretically Jamie's getting the key to the new house this week.  Over the weekend we divided up the kitchen without too much trouble.  I opted for the big, practical things over the fancy, and generally have the functionality to cook meals.  I will miss that blender, though.

Jamie and I continue to generally be amicable.  There are a few undecided things we're having problems with, and I'm not quite sure how we'll sort it out.  There's also the uncertainty about jobs and after school care for the kids.  For the most part, I've appreciated that Jamie's been reasonable and things have gone smoothly.  The short-term plan seems to be that Jamie will move in the next couple weeks and start up our temporary child visitation once she gets settled.

I continue to worry about the kids.  Last night Emma had a dream that she saved Jamie from a burning building and had to teach her how to talk again.  Sam's been pretty quiet.  I think they've gotten used to this odd new household arrangement and it's about to be disrupted again.  We'll figure it out.


Last Unmarked Mocha Friday

January 15, 2010 by Adam in Family

I had a great time with the kids last night.  I'm slowly getting the hang of the single parent thing.  I had my checklist that I went through, paying bills, making dinner, and baking some gluten-free pumpkin bread for Joanna.  Emma seemed unprepared for her spelling test today, so I recruited Sam to assist.  He developed an elaborate song-and-dance routine to help with memorization and by the end of bathtime she had them down.  Sam's nearly caught up with Lost, which I make him do stair-stepping while he watches.  Maybe I'll get him hooked on Battlestar Galactica next.

This morning my kids made me show off my wrist so they could take a mental picture of it tattoo-free.  Sam was excited about today, as they're playing with their casino projects at school, he plays with Zack this afternoon, and tonight Josh comes over to babysit.  When I was getting in my car, I heard a tapping noise and looked up to see him cheerfully waving good-bye.

Tonight Joanna's coming over for soup and then we're heading off to get tattoos.  She's promised to take videos of me crying like a little baby, which I'll try to post for everyone's enjoyment shortly.

I'm not sure what we're up to this weekend.  Jamie won't be back until late Saturday night, so I'll be doing breakfast and planning the day.  I'm thinking a trip to the computer recycling store is in order.  I want a cheap computer case that Emma can decorate and take a computer to Jamie's house.  Sam needs a mouse for his laptop.  I have a closet full of old computer hardware that I'd like to get rid of.  Seems like a good plan.

Sadie's Gone, Week's Half Over

January 14, 2010 by Adam in Family

The week's half over, Emma's in bed, Sam's nearly caught up on five seasons of Lost, and I'm feeling a little tuckered out.  Life as a single parent can be tiring, and there seemed to be food to cook, laundry to fold, or bills to pay around every corner.

I miss Sadie.  We had such a good time when she and Greg were over.

Mocha Friday

January 08, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's another delicious Mocha Friday. I'm dressed in the clothes Sadie picked out for me yesterday. She and Greg whisked me off to Valley River where we looted the sales racks and theoretically I'm dressed far more "cool" than I was the day before. Joanna tagged along to give her opinion as well, though Sadie frowned and made comments about inefficiencies. Sam informed me this morning that I look like a lumberjack.

Later on we scoped out tattoo parlors, always a fun adventure. The first place worried me a little, especially when the front desk person didn't know what "mottled" meant. We wandered over to High Priestess and it seemed more busy and professional. I'm not sure if we can all get the tattoos we were wanting before Sadie leaves, but Joanna promised to take videos of me writhing in pain should the scheduling not work out right.

I got home and the kids were in good moods last night. Jamie had kindly cooked chicken breast before leaving, so I combined that with mashed potatoes to make a hearty meal. Sam worked on spelling and Emma did her "help dad" chore by going out to load up the compost tumbler with me, flashlight in hand. They seem to be doing much better than the start of the week, settling into school and waking up at a reasonable hour.

The next few days are feeling packed, but good. Tonight is dinner at my mom's, with Joanna, her mom, and her kids coming over. Tomorrow Sam and I see Avatar and are invited to my dad's for dinner. I'm buying tickets to the 3:15 3D theater showing in Springfield, as the last time we went it was sold out. Hopefully I can do some grocery shopping and deal with all the house things that need to be done. Lots of bills and paperwork.

The Times They Are A-Changin'

January 06, 2010 by Adam in Family

It seems that in the last few months my life has changed more than in the last few years. I've been slowly adjusting to the life of a single dad, an occasionally bumpy process. Last night I tried to play with Sam, make a healthy dinner for the kids, make soup for tonight, do laundry, help with homework, and get the kids to bed early. In retrospect, it was obviously too much.

The soup got put on hold and the kids went to sleep relatively happy. I'm going to my mom's for dinner and we'll cheerfully sip soup and eat bread. Simple fare, but good.
The kids are adjusting to going back to school, easing into homework and school projects. He and I worked on a book report on Tuesday and he's trying to find something to read in a genre that isn't sci-fi or fantasy. Emma's in a play on the 20th for "Safety Kids," so she was practicing her one line last night. It was very cute.

Jamie continues to get ready for the upcoming move. Things are going into boxes. I ordered Sam a laptop to take between houses. We're cancelling gas cards, shifting insurance, and getting names on accounts switched over. Theoretically the move happens the weekend of the 23rd.

It's occasionally overwhelming all the details and changes that are going on. I just need to remind myself of where I'm headed and that I keep taking steps to get there.

2nd Day of 2010

January 03, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's the end of a very full day.  Emma's in the bath, and I'm pretty tuckered out myself.

The day began with Emma and I cuddling in bed, Emma asking about how the stomach worked and then later the bones in the forearm.  We got up, played a little Monkey Island, and Sadie Skyped to invite herself and Greg over for breakfast.  And so began a day of games.

The crepes were great and afterward the kids opened their presents from Sadie.  The first was a hand-made drawing game, which we all played.  The second was Cosmic Encounter, which we also played.  Next was Magic, Beatles Rock Band, and Settlers of Catan.  The entire time I kept a steady stream of snacks and meals, spending a fair bit of time in the kitchen.  It was pretty fun, and seeing Greg and Sadie was completely awesome.

Around three, Joanna, her mom Colette, and her kids Duncan and Berry came over.  We hung out in the basement, Emma playing and Sam upstairs with Greg.  Eventually it was time for dinner and I maniacally made pasta, veggies, and soup.  Serving nine was somewhat exciting, but we all survived and ate crumble and ice cream for dessert.  Now I'm beat.

In other news, Jamie and I had a productive sit-down on Friday.  The tentative plan is that she'll be moving the week of the 23rd.  The temporary kid schedule is that she has the kids Wednesday through Saturday morning, and possibly some time on Sunday, depending on what people are doing.  We also talked about assorted financial things, from gas cards to insurance.  It felt good to get things more final, and Jamie's been very reasonable.

So, 2010 is looking to be good.  The kids seem relatively okay and things are falling into place. 


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