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.

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