Sunday 30 April 2006

I thought it wasn't easy being green

[Dad is getting Alice ready for a bath]

Alice: Look!

Dad: [looks at Alice’s arms, covered in green tiger strips of marker]

Alice: [gleefully] I a mess!

[Dad gets Alice in the tub and starts washing]

Dad: Alice, I don’t think these marks are going to come off.

Alice: yeah

Dad: They’ll be there forever.

Alice: OK

Dad: You’re fine with being green?

Alice: Yes.

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Charles' Wheel of Fortune Light

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Going with what works

Alice is taking to drawing her shoes in a big way today. She drawing the outlines of them over and over, announcing each completed outline with a big “tah-dah!”.

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Saturday 29 April 2006

Weekly Soccer Report

It was a cool, drizzly day, just the kind the soccer coach likes. Perhaps because of that, Corwin and his team had a good game day today, winning 8-1. The most important things is that Allison was there today and finally had a victory.

Corwin’s team scored a couple of quick goals, just like the last game they won. The other team came back with a goal shortly after that. After that the game settled in to a state where Corwin’s team woud score a goal every now and then until the end.

The team seemed much more in the zone today, although another parent thought that was primarily because they had jumped out to an early lead. Mara scored twice as well, Andrea, Josh, Keith all scored goals. Poor Jack didn’t score at all, but did make several good runs.

Corwin had a good game, with an excellent run on his second score (as you can see on this very post). Corwin did well on defense as well, although he needs to work on staying on his side of the field and supporting the goalie more.

The other side played hard, but this time it seemed that Corwin’s team had the upper hand in direct combat, winning a lot more of the tackles. The other team’s goalie was Ryan, who was on Corwin’s team last year. I felt bad for him, as he had a number of good saves. Right at the end, he had a good save against Corwin, but it stung his hands so bad that he stopped for a moment, at which point Josh roared in and blasted the ball in to the goal from about 3 feet out. You can see in the picture here, of Corwin’s goal, that Ryan was suffering from the same thing Corwin’s team had problems with last time, lack of goalie support. If the kids get a clean shot like this, it’s very hard on the goalie.

The other team did play until the end, which I made sure to point out to Corwin. I suppose it’s harder if your team is used to winning but it’s still a good lesson to learn. My view is that if you’re going to play sports, you commit to playing the game, win or lose.

Season Summary

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Friday 28 April 2006

Baby needs a new pair of shoes

Mom took Charles and Alice out to get new shoes this evening. Alice’s look about the same but Charles switched from laces to velcro closures, which is good because his old laces had worn out. Not only that, but Charles should now be able to completely dress himself. Just a couple of days ago he put on his own shoes, although I had to tie. Now, no tieing! Sweet.

P.S. Alice was so excited about her new shoes that she started drawing pictures on them with chalk on the sidewalk. She even let me take a picture of them. Charles liked his shoes but refused to allow them to be imaged. He was sufficiently successful at this that I have only one blurry picture of them.

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Corwin explores his simian inheritance

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Thursday 27 April 2006

Speed training

Corwin has a baseball game tonight, so Mom sent us out to do some warm up throwing. Corwin seems to be playing outfield so I thought I would work on his long throws. Unfortunately, that meant that I had to throw relatively hard back to him. Corwin completely missed one throw which smacked him hard right in the breast bone, although he managed to get back in the house under his own power. He commented that concern over such incidents was why he wanted me to throw gently. My counter-argument was that there wasn’t going to be any gentle throwing in an actual game and he should get used to high speed balls. I am torn between “train as you play” and going easy to get more successful practice. I suspect Corwin’s solution will be to avoid practicing with Dad.

P.S. Corwin recovered well enough to play. He walked twice and got a hit in three times at bat. His team won, although no one was clear on the exact score.

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Behind comfort

Poly will sometimes hang out with me in my office, where she makes sure the right bits are comfortable

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Wednesday 26 April 2006

Everything's better with scotch tape and Charles art

Mom bought some framed pictures of trains a while back from a local dealer. She liked the pictures and Charles likes trains, so it seemed a natural fit.

However, Charles seems to have recently decided that the pictures were not up to his artistic standards. He therefore made his own little drawings so that he could enhance the pictures with Real Art.

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Tuesday 25 April 2006

Speeding past Alice

Poly was resting on the couch this morning, until she popped in to my office to see me. I got up and took her outside so she could pee, which she did right off. Woo!

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Fun with light

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Monday 24 April 2006

Opening day

Corwin had his first baseball game of the season this evening. At least his team scored some runs, which is good. Corwin tried his hand at catcher, which is difficult position with a first time pitcher. We took Jack with us and we had a bit of conversation that went like this:

Jack: I don’t like that town [where the opposing team is from].

Dad: Why not?

Jack: They have good sports teams.

Dad: Oh, so you must love Chicago.

Jack: Yeah! [pause] No! [pause] Wait!

I had an OK time, but the light really goes fast in the evenings so I had to pack in the camera by the end of the first inning. But the days should get longer as the season wears on.

Alice and Poly had fun, trying to eat dirt together. Alice did admit that she liked eating popcorn more than eating dirt. That didn’t mean she didn’t go back to dirt once the popcorn ran out.

Season Summary

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Yes, it's thousands of posts now

This is the 2,000th post. I know there are a few of you who have been with this from the beginning — think how much time wasted that represents! At this rate, I should reach 3,000 sometime in mid 2008. The photo hosting has been a big help in reaching this goal, letting me make a lot of posts that are just a picture without having to actually compose some semi-coherent text.

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Corwin's Baseball Schedule

Mon 24 AprSt. Joe13Away7-20 
Thu 27 AprY.R.1Home12-7 
Tue 2 MayY.R.3Home10-10 
Fri 5 MaySt. Joe (Major)11Away8-20 
Mon 8 MaySt. Joe10Away0-15 
Wed 10 MayPrairie7AwayRain 
Mon 15 MayY.R.14Home1-18Rescheduled for 19 May
Wed 17 MayY.R.12Home4-7 
Mon 22 MayPrairie6Away
Wed 24 MayY.R.5Home
Wed 31 MayY.R.9Home
Fri 2 JunY.R.2Home
Tue 6 JunPrairie8Away
Thu 8 JunY.R.7Home
Tue 13 JunY.R.3Home
Thu 15 JunY.R.2Home
Tue 20 JunY.R.8Home
Thu 22 JunY.R.5Away
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Egg Huntress

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Sunday 23 April 2006

Out of sight, out of existence

I was giving Alice a bath last night. I washed her body, her hair, and then left her in the tub because she likes to play for a while after the cleaning is done.I perched in my observation chair, cruising the Internet while keeping an eye on Alice.

After a few minutes, Alice started to panic, calling out “my hair!” in the tone of voice she uses to demand the return of the object in question. I couldn’t quite figure out what she wanted me to do, but after a few repititions and Alice starting to tear up, I realized that with her hair wet and slicked back she couldn’t see it and therefore thought it had been lost. I tried to tell her it was still there but she didn’t accept my caims. I saved the day by pulling some strands forward, showing them to her and thereby convincing her that she was not, in fact, bald.

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Getting closer

My latest attempt at a family portrait

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Saturday 22 April 2006

A dog's life

Polynomial is still adjusting to our house hold.

  • Poly is doing better about being house trained, or we just spend a lot more time outside. Perhaps it’s both. But I haven’t cleaned up a Poly mess for over a week now.
  • Poly can jump up on the kitchen table. I caught her walking around on top of the table, looking for food.
  • Poly likes kitty litter and cat poop. She’s brought back a couple of such prizes to the couch. I guess she’s bonded too close with Alice.
  • We’re getting those tufts of extra green grass that dog owners get.
  • Poly and Alice like to share the cat food.
  • Poly and Alice like to eat chalk.

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Weekly Soccer Report

Sadly, Corwin’s team got crushed 0-5 today. I have to be honest and say that the team just didn’t seem to be playing their best game. It seemed like there was a definite lack of hustle. 3 of the other team’s goals were a single kid running the ball downfield and scoring against a lone goalie. Unlike previous years, the kids are now old and coordinated enough that the better players can make a good goal shot on the run if unopposed. On the flip side, the other team had a good defense. Only once or twice did Corwin’s team get a good run at it and I don’t think there was ever just a goalie for defense. Still, Corwin’s team did have a few close shots at the goal, but didn’t manage to convert.

Corwin played reasonably, although he seemed to be suffering from the general lack of hustle as well. He did better in the second half, with some good defensive plays and a good run at the other goal. He had a tough score against him as goalie. He blocked a couple of shots but on the third he didn’t quite hold on to the ball and the other side popped it in for the score.

I hope the kids don’t end up blaming me for getting the coaches to switch around the teams. There was some mixup in the schedule where Corwin’s team would have played the same team twice. With the switch, every pairing is now distinct. The switch also meant a change from yellow to blue jerseys, which was a problem for some of the girls who weren’t wearing undershirts. The parents had to hold coats around them. I had to use my coat to shield Corwin from exposure as well.

Unfortunately, Corwin will have to miss practice on Monday as he has a baseball game. It may be that Corwin is getting to the age where he will have to concentrate on one sport or the other.

Season Summary.

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Friday 21 April 2006

Charles Construction Area

Charles sets up his construction area, despite complaints from Mom about dumping rocks on the lawn

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Sit couch!

One of Alice’s favorite phrases right now is “sit couch!” which translates as “sit on the couch, right now, so I can sit on you and watch Dora”. She has a wonderful economy of words.

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Thursday 20 April 2006

Tricky memories

[Charles sees a picture of himself playing with one of the white posts he frequently uses in his outdoor constructs]

Charles: What is that white thing?

Dad: Who is that in the picture?

Charles: Me.

Dad: And who was playing with the white thing?

Charles: Me.

Dad: And who knows what the white thing is?

Charles: I don’t know.

[Later we see an old picture of Charles sweeping the sidewalk with the big broom]

Dad: You’ve liked that broom for a long time, haven’t you?

Charles: [smiles] Yesssss.

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Situational awareness still an issue

[Corwin wrapped up some of the tokens in tin foil this morning and took them to school as part of the Williamsburg project.]

Dad: Why not just have them be gold? [their natural color]

Corwin: I wrapped them up so they would look like silver.

Dad: But why not gold?

Corwin: I didn’t have any gold tin foil.

[Mom and Dad start laughing]

Corwin: What did I say this time?

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Tears of Ink

Poor Corwin. As part of his school activities, he got a packet of ink mix, bsaed on a formulation used in WIlliamsburg in colonial times. I loaned him one of my glass quill pens. He mixed up the ink and tried a bit of writing with the pen.

After he was done, he tried to take the bowl of ink over to the sink to cover it for later. Of course he managed to drop the bowl on the way, creating quite the mess. Corwin was in near tears. I thought it was because he was concerned about the parental blowback from the spill, but Mom tells me it was really because he had lost all of his ink and messed up one of his favorite shirts.

Corwin made a weak attempt at cleanup, which turned out to create more of a mess than when he started. He got some facial tissues and mopped up some ink with them, but then put them on top of the counter so that most of the ink leaked back out, down the sides of the cabinets and pooling in one of the drawers.

We sent Corwin off to shower while I cleaned and Mom attempted to keep the CAP patrol from contributing to the mess. For quite a while, every time I thought I had nearly finished, I would discover yet another place that Corwin had managed to get ink (like the closed drawer mentioned above).

I think we’ll restrict him to smaller quantities next time.

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Wednesday 19 April 2006

Careful construction

Charles always inspects his work to make sure it is right

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Tuesday 18 April 2006


Grandma gave Charles a pad of paper where each page is the connect game. That’s the one where there is a grid of dots and each turn you draw a line between two dots, trying to complete squares. Charles uses slightly different rules, where you get the square if there are more edges in your color rather than (as normal) you complete the square. I ended up just putting lines in random places for a while which Charles got a few squares. Then Charles started asking “are you done with the game?” every turn. Taking the hint, I agreed that I was done. Charles then said sadly, “but you not get a single square!”. He then pulled the page off and handed it to me, stating “You keep this so you know you not get any squares at all”. I wonder if I should frame it.

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Mud Buddies

They know what they like

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Growing up in the Information Age

Corwin had another milestone last weekend. He sent his first e-mail message (to Grandma). Grandma brought him some Mad Libs for Easter. Corwin found them quite interesting and insisted on sending one of his efforts to Grandma, so I set up an e-mail account for him and off it went. Grandma replied, completing a big step for Corwin in to our modern age.

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Monday 17 April 2006

Film death

We used to have an I-Zone camera, which is a little instant camera It had fallen in to disuse, but Charles discovered some old film for them. Unfortunately, the film was over a year past its expire date and didn’t work. I tried to get some more but either our local stores just don’t carry it anymore or it’s been completely discontinued (given how broken the website is, I suspect a global dicontinuity).

My theory is that with the rise of capable and inexpensive digital cameras, along with cell phones that are both cameras and display devices, there is no longer a market. The demgraphic target was always tweens through college students and any of those that could afford the film could afford a cell phone or digital camera.

Luckily Dad had an older camera (a gift from Mom) with which he was able to placate the disconsolate Charles. Interestingy, Charles doesn’t seem to miss the prints.

P.S. I think this picture was actually taken by Andreas during the camera chase.

P. P.S. You can see Charles’ scar if you look close.

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Sunday 16 April 2006

Couch Crew: Triple Crash

Sometimes they sleep in beds … just not their own

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Must get that from Mom

[Discussing the kidlog]

Dad: I am almost up to 2,000 posts!

Mom: [flatly] Good for you.

Dad: I work and I slave and what thanks do I get?

Corwin: “Good for you”?

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Easter life

Because it was Easter, Mom signed up herself for refreshments at the Church and voluntered Corwin as an acolyte. Grandma also came down so that Mom could be in a cooking and cleaning frenzy for the preceeding couple of days.

Alice was a bit of a trial today, though. She was strongly against changing out of her night clothes. She is definitely a very strong baby, I had to really exert myself to get some clothes on her. Eventually Mom tried to calm her down but in the end it was brute force that dressed her.

To start off the services there was a short children’s sermon before an egg hunt. Some of the children got special eggs to bring up to the speaker to symbolize various points. Because for some unaccountable we were early, all three of our spawn got eggs. When it was Alice’s turn, she marched right up and handed her egg to the speaker and then walked back in a very self satisfied way.

As noted, Corwin was the acolyte. He did a very good job, lighting the candles without incident and being a serious boy while helping out with communion.

After Corwin lit the candles, he went and Mom sat down in the front row. Alice saw this and immediately started crying out for Mom. I ran her over to Mom, but forgot her basket of eggs, so I had to run over there again to deliver that. Later in the service Alice managed to break containment and leak on to Mom so that she had to rush Alice out to change her diaper, only to discover that I had the diaper bag while she had a diaperless toddler. Luckily Mom is a calm, collected person in all situations and was able to recover with her usual panache.

Then we went home for our own egg hunt. Corwin hid the eggs the first time and then Charles insisted on hiding the eggs as well. We handed out baskets of chocolates. Eventually I had to take Alice’s away because our little chocoholic was chewing through the entire basket in a determined way.

Easter dinner was good, although the kids had some spoiled appetites.

After that, we hung out for a bit and then went down in the basement when the air raid sirens went off, indicating nearby tornados. If I post again tomorrow, you’ll know we didn’t get hit.

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Happy Easter!

Big bunnies
to all!

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Saturday 15 April 2006

Pond season

It’s pond season again, as the days warm up. The kids went off to play in the pond for the first time this year last week. We went again today because Mom was bored and Corwin was off at an actual swimming pool.

Mom and I walked, Alice rode in the stroller and Charles road his bike. As we traveled, Mom commented that we were going to take a walk around the pond before we hit the beach. We then got stopped by a neighbor, while Charles raced on ahead. Mom assured me that he would wait on the sidewak at the start of the trail to the pond for us, but when we got there we found only his bike. I hiked on looking for him and became a bit concerned when I didn’t see him anywhere on the trail or the beach. I pondered where he could have gone when I spotted a ittle boy walking the trail around the pond. Charles had not only heard Mom but followed her instructions. He had then got stuck looking at the fish in the water, who are busy making more fish.

Charles played in the sand for a bit, but Alice charged right in to the water. A ittle while after that Charles decided to play in the water as well and had stripped down to his underwear. Meanwhile, Alice’s diaper had become progressively more loaded until it fell off and we had a naked Alice cavorting in the water. Alice was not the least bit concerned by this, but Mom thought that since a couple of other families with children were present, perhaps it wasn’t the most polite thing. Mom tried to put pants sans diaper on Alice, but she did not like that at all once it got wet. So Mom had to trundle back to the house to put some pullups on Alice. By the time she got back, Charles had gotten cold and I had to take him back. But overall, I think the kids enjoyed it.

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Weekly Soccer Report

The season is saved, Corwin’s team won, 3-1! It was a good game.

The other team started off badly. I think they only had 8 players, so Corwin’s team was reduced to 8 as well (instead of the normal 9). Corwin’s team scored two goals in the first three minutes. I thought it was going to be a blow out. But after that, though, the other team stiffened up and played much better. and scored a goal late in the first quarter while holding off attacks. Jack managed to put one last goal in in the fourth quarter against a tough defense.

There was a lot of good soccer. The other team managed to stage a number of good attacks on our goal, stopped only by some good last second saves by the goalie and defenders. Corwin had a great save where the other player was running in for an excellent shot when Corwin managed to get his foot in front of the ball right as the other kid took the shot. Corwin also got some excellent kick outs to stop enemy plays as well. However, he wasn’t getting good height on his goalie kicks so that they were stopped easily by the other team. Corwin also seemed more tired and didn’t chase the ball as aggressively as he has done in the previous games. It might have had something to do with him forgetting to bring water.

I think some other people on the team were getting tired as well. Near the end, Jack had a goalie kick. He had to stop once because Maggie ran right in front of him just as he was kicking. He let her go by and then tried again, nearly nailing KAL who also crossed right in front of him.

Of course, since the team won, Alison wasn’t there to enjoy it. But of course the team will win all the rest of their games so she won’t be completely shut out.

Season Summary.

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Gated community

We broke down and put a child gate on the stairs this week. We didn’t need one during the entire time we had three children, but now that we have a dog, it’s gate time.

We removed the gate in Poly’s room downstairs because it served only to trap her in the bathroom area after she jumped it. Now we put newspapers in that space and just close the door. Poly does seem to be more accepting of being in the room overnight. Whether it’s the lack of the gate or she’s just getting used to it is unclear.

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Friday 14 April 2006

Spring breaking Charles

Speaking of spring, Charles has been complaining for weeks now that he didn’t get a Spring Break like Corwin did. Corwin has today off from school so Mom has decided that this will be Charles’ and Alice’s Spring Break. Hopefully Charles won’t realize that Corwin had an entire week and he only gets one day.

Anyway, the pictures are stacking up and I expect that with the nice weather I will be taking more (winter is always a slow photo season), so here’s an extra one just because.

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Corwin has announced the real start of spring. Yesterday he changed in to shorts to go outside, and he, Andreas, and Andreas’ brother Matias, played with the hose without running inside at the first soaking.

My office is also starting to get stuffy without the cooling effects of winter. It might be time to stop wearing the thermal undershirts and sweaters.

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Brotherly faith

Corwin discovers that Charles’ cross bridge is strong enough to support him

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Spring rush for the whole family

Mom is having a fun week, with lots of work for her class, taxes and the new puppy. She also, this week, has to use antibiotics on both Alice and POset. Alice gets them orally, which she doesn’t like at all, while POset gets to have drops put in her ears, which is also not a favored activity. I just hope she keeps the medicines straight.

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Thursday 13 April 2006


A couple of weeks Charles ago managed to get a big scratch just to the side of his left eye, from his eyebrow down to his cheek. We have no idea how he did it. When I asked Charles about it, he denied that he had a scratch at all until I showed him a mirror. I asked Miss Darcy about it but she didn’t know. I also think that, based on the timing, he did it at home somewhere. Whatever happened, it doesn’t seem to have been too traumatic if Charles couldn’t remember that he had even been scratched so soon afterwards.

I did take to calling him “Scar” for a bit, but now that he’s almost all healed up I will have to give up on that.

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Flower boy

The latest flash point for Charles is dandelions. Charles has acquired a strong fondess for flowers and this is most easily satiated by picking dandelions. Of course, if Charles does it Alice thinks it is cool too so we naturally have fights over the picked dandelions, which end with Charles in tears and complaining “Alice broke my flower!”.

It’s a bit of a challenge because most people suppress dandelions, it’s still early and the spring has been cold. This leaves not all that many actual blooming blossoms. We spent quite a bit of time at the last soccer practice scowering the grounds for good blooms. Here Charles is unsatisfied with the quality of what we found, although that happened so many times I don’t remember precisely what was wrong in this case.

At home, of course, we have blooms in profusion. It’s For The Children™, after all.

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Rush of spring

Corwin is once again in his over-scheduled mode this spring. His current portfolio is

  • Soccer
  • Theatre
  • Baseball
  • Violin
  • Cub Scouts
  • Puppy training

We now have to choose which practices and events he misses because he has to go to a different one. I do think it’s a bit odd that he has baseball so early. My memories of Little League is that it was mainly a late spring / early summer kind of activity. Perhaps I mis-remember, or kids are so busy during the summer with summer long activities that it’s been forced in to the spring while kids are still in school.

Corwin enjoys his water breaks

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Location, location, location

Charles set this up one day and insisted that everyone who went in to the media room had to sign in. He was very careful to get names correct and check you on and off the list as you moved around. He kept his drink on his desk so he didn’t have to leave for refreshments. The box on the side is for his money / reciepts.

Charles picked a very strategic location with lots of traffic. Clearly he is learning from his earlier, less successful efforts.

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Wednesday 12 April 2006

Sick day

Alice is home sick today, with a mild ear infection and pink eye. The doctor claims that she should be good to go tomorrow. Miss Laurie at day care said she had a bad day yesterday, tired and cranky, but at home last evening Alice was in quite the feisty mood. We’ll see what she’s like at home today.

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Playing bridge

Charles had fun this weekend making bridges. He was motivated because Corwin kept climbing up on the fence to do the swing. Charles tried to do the same thing but it was much more difficult for him. For once, though, Charles’ construction obsession was helpful. After putting the cross piece on, Charles could put two longer planks from the ground up to the level of the fence and then walk up those. I had to forbid Corwin from trying them out as they bowed quite a bit for Charles and I suspect they wouldn’t last long with Corwin.

Along with being my road crew, Charles had a good building weekend. It did tire him out a bit, as you can see.

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Couch Crew: The Complete Collection

The brothers do not find Dora as fascinating as Alice does

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Tuesday 11 April 2006

Eaking out the perception of progress

Recently when I picked up Alice from daycare, the staff person informed me that Alice had spent the previous hour or so digging dirt out of the cracks in the sidewalk but — but — Alice had not eaten any of it! Woo-hoo!

So much dirt, so little time

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Road crew

The big storm we had a week or two ago knocked over more than just trees, it also blew over the basketball hoop. I was given the task of restoring it to full functionality.

The problem was that, to be stable, the bottom is filled with water. Once it was knocked over, all of this drained out and had to be refilled. Unfortunately, we don’t have a hose long enough to reach to the road, so I had to move the hoop in to the back yard, fill it, then move it back. Moving the filled hoop over grass is a bit difficult.

While I was working on this, Charles was desperate to help. I took him up on that, as he was heavy enough to hold the hoop upright while I got the hose turned on and placed to fill the base. Charles kept a close eye on it for me until the base was filled. I tried to move it but with the yard still soaked from the rain, it didn’t go so well. Then I remembered that Charles had been playing with the extra planks that Mom had intended for another of her raised beds. I got those and used them as a temporary road for the hoop. Charles thought it was very cool and enthusiastically helped move the planks from behind to in front. And so with Charles’ help, the hoop was restored. Yay!

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Street sweeper

One of the things that Charles likes to do on his bike is drag along a large broom to sweep the sidewalk or street. I don’t have a good picture of him doing this, but here’s a video which should give you the flavor of it.

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Close to the Edit

Andreas was over on the weekend and we ended up playing camera hunt. Eventually I let the boys have a weapon as well, as you can see here. What I hope the boys learn from this experience is the power of editorial control, by observing the correlation between who edits the pictures and what shows up on this kidlog.

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Dog days

Poly managed to jump the gate in her room last night. She left a variety of presents for Mom in Mom’s office, after Mom discovered Poly on Charles’ bed. The disencouragement to going upstairs hasn’t taken it seems. I suspect Poly ended up in Charles’ bed because she can’t get in Corwin’s nor Alice’s and is probably smart enough to not try ours. I don’t know what Mom is going to do, but I suspect she’ll have to get a gate for the stairs and another gate for Poly’s room to put above the bottom one.

We have also been having problems with Poly nipping at the kids. Interestingly, she doesn’t do it if I am watching. If she’s started, I have to disengage her but if she is getting ready I only have to hold up a finger to dissaude her. Her willingness to nip is strongly inversely correlate with whether she thinks I am watching, so at least we have that.

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Monday 10 April 2006

Quick takes

At soccer practice tonight, Charles was sitting in a folding chair and Alice was trying to tip him over. The whole time, Charles was yelling in mock terror “I can’t swim!”.

It’s not always easy being right. Corwin was on the swing zipping around when Alice wandered near by. I called out “Alice, get away, you’re going to get knocked over”. Not two seconds later Alice walked in precisely the correct spot to get completely plowed by Corwin. She was screaming and crying for nearly ten seconds before she was off getting in the way again.

Now I’m just sitting out on the bench, watching Charles, Alice and Poly dig in the front disaster area. Gosh, they all like dirt a lot. Charles, at least, doesn’t eat it.

Alice is amusing, though. She wolfed down some soil and then I castigated her. She just looked smug, dirt smeared all over her face. As soon as I cleaned up her face, she complained that her hands were dirty. Dirt on face, dirt in mouth — OK. Dirt on hand — bad.

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Couch crew: Aftermath

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No, it's you, Daddy

I picked up Charles the other day and Miss Darcy had a camera out, taking pictures. I wished her good luck in getting a picture of Charles and she gave me a puzzled look. Apparently Charles is very cooperative about pictures when I am not around. When Miss Darcy tried to get a picture of Charles while I was there, Charles reverted to form and hid behind me. Miss Darcy got his picture anyway, but it was ruined by some guy getting in the way.

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Reducing humor to its essentials

Alice has started telling “knock-knock” jokes. She’s not quite as good as Charles. Her delivery goes like this:

Alice: Knock knock!

Dad: Who’s there?

Alice: Alice who! [giggling]

At least she doesn’t drag things out.

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Sunday 09 April 2006

On the road to adventure!

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Saturday 08 April 2006

Another advantage of hardwood floors

I am not sure we are making any progress on house training. We do seem to have trained Poly to not be seen excreting inside the house. Rather than asking to go outside, when Poly needs to go she will try to sneak off unobserved and use a handy floor in the house. She has also taking to darting upstairs and peeing on the carpet up there as well. It’s particularly annoying to spend 10-15 minutes with her outside only to have her make a mess within a minute or two of coming back in.

As noted, negative reenforcement has only taught Poly to hide her messes while inside, while positive reenforcement doesn’t seem to have any effect. At least Poly knows that there is a difference between inside and outside (i.e., that she doesn’t have to worry about being seen making a mess outside) but that’s not all that helpful.

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Weekly Soccer Report

It was another hard fought loss today, 0-1, on a cold and windy morning. The other team scored early in the second half on a well coordinated attack. Overall it was another good game with lots of plays and tackles, lots of goal attempts.

It’s been quite the come down for a team that used to worry about running up the score too badly. I’m not sure what the difference is. If anything, I think the team is playing better than last season.This team definitely had several players with good ball control which was unusua to face last year. They were also good at getting in the way of defensive kicks, making it much harder for our team to get the ball away from our goal to the other side of the field.

Another indication of overall better play this season is that I am not seeing the sort of “accidental” goal that used to be reasonably common. Every one has been clearly intentional. I was near the goal for the one this game and it was obvious that the shooter saw the hole in the defense and took the shot, he didn’t just kick in the general direction and hope to get lucky.

I think Corwin is doing better, particularly on offense. Today was a good game for him. He wasn’t on offense much, but he had a lot of good kicks and tackles, breaking up plays by the other team.

I think the team has achieved enough humility, hopefully they can get back to winning some games.

Season Summary.

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Friday 07 April 2006

Expectation modifcation

Yesterday was not the best day.

  • Poly woke me up at 4:30 to go out and I ended up sitting with her for an hour or two because she was so lonely.
  • This made me so tired that I slept through the alarm. Everyone else was apparently tired as well because no one else woke up either. I roused myself groggily at 7:43. Oops!
  • Corwin got himself ready in record time for him and I managed to get him to school before he was late.
  • However, Corwin let Poly out while I was doing my morning toilet and she peed on the floor. And pooped in the sun room. Twice.
  • I also discovered a spot of pee right in front of the bathroom in our bedroom, apparently from the night before.
  • I discovered that Poly likes to go upstairs to pee. She got away from me upstairs for less than a minute, but it was long enough.
  • It rained basically all day, making it difficult to get Poly outside and I couldn’t sit outside with her, as the laptop reacts badly to rain.
  • Poly wouldn’t stay in my office, managing to get out even if I put a door stop under the door. Given the other messes I didn’t dare leave her unmonitored.
  • After Corwin got home, I left him with Poly to pick up Charles and Alice. Poly peed on the couch while I was gone.
  • Charles and Alice came home in major whiny moods, crying over every little thing and sometimes for (as far as I could tell) no reason at all.

Things were a little better after Jack and Anwen came over. I had to sit with Poly because they all wanted to play in the basement and while sitting with Poly wasn’t optimal, it beat cleaning up after her in the basement, or hoping she didn’t choke after chewing on some small item left on the floor.

However, this morning has gone a bit better. Poly got up at 4:30 again, but I was able to put her back and get some more sleep. We all woke up at 7:00 (even Charles and Alice, like they couldn’t have done that yesterday). Poly didn’t make any messes in the house after we got up and stayed with me in my office in the morning. Alice and Charles were cooperative. Alice even let me put tights on her (because she wanted to wear her dress) with only a token whiny “noooo!”. Charles and Alice let me put on light jackets instead of their winter jackets without complaint. And Mom is due back tonight.

So it all seems kind of funny now, although I wasn’t in the best mood when Mom checked in at night. Sorry about that!

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Two fisted drawing

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Thursday 06 April 2006

Young swinger

Corwin likes the new swing Mom set up while she was here (Mom’s off on another exciting adventure this week). Charles has tried it a few times but can’t stay upright on it. Alice falls off almost immediately. Corwin gets up on the fence and swings off that. He managed to bloody his lip by setting the swing to swinging so he could grab it once he was up on the fence. After that, he started catching it with his hands instead of his teeth. I eventually drove a tall stack in the ground nearby for him to loop the swing around. It’s not great but it’s an improvement.

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Crayon and marker, 36” grid paper

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Wednesday 05 April 2006

Gratuitous Picture of the Day

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A child in need

Alice woke us up in the middle of the night last night, desperate with need. What was it that Alice was in such need of? Having her hair combed. I had never realized what a crisis improper hair care could be for a young girl.

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Tuesday 04 April 2006

It's such a brief phase when they want to clean

Alice drew all over herself with a marker this evening. I managed to persuade her to take a bath, which got most of the marker off. While I was watching her play in the tub, she engaged in a washing game where she would dump water out of a container on her face, then rub her face with a wash cloth. She actually managed to get some dirt off.

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Not your standard Mom in a minivan

There are some who say that Mom is a bit of an agressive driver (just to bother her and not because when she picks out cars she gets road hugging performance vehicles, her current one being turbo charged and a favorite of road rally enthusiasts).

Alice is now one of those people. She will call out “woahh!” and “weeee!” as Mom takes curves or brakes. No such sounds are heard when I am driving (which luckily is unfalsifiable by Mom). I think this means we can just send Alice out on long drives with Mom instead of Disney Land.

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Family entertainment

Corwin entertains his cousin Brady

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Monday 03 April 2006

A twisted path

Mom took Poly and me out for a walk today around the pond. While Poly likes her new retractable leash better than the original nylon cord one, she is still not quite adapted to it. Mom had to frequently

  • lift up the leash to prevent Poly from entangling herself
  • pull Poly’s legs over the leash when that failed
  • switch the leash from hand to hand to prevent tripping over it herself
  • manuever the leash around obstacles

The best one was when Poly popped off the trail into the woods and get her leash wrapped around a tree. It was too far for Mom to just hand the leash around so she went in to circle the tree herself and detangle. Poly of course followed around behind Mom re-tangling the leash as fast as Mom could untangle it. Sadly, Mom made me hold Poly still otherwise I could have been entertained for quite a long time.

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Bad tree parking

The parking lot at Charles’ and Alice’s daycare after the storm

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Sunday 02 April 2006

Not the best place to live with that kind of phobia

We hid in the basement for a while tonight because there was a tornado warning out for our town. Corwin gets very concerned if there is any sort of severe weather so when the warning came Mom decided she would set a good example and made every go in to the basement. After a while the all clear came over the radio. Corwin thought we should stay in the basement anyway, just in case.

P.S. There was an official report of 74 MPH winds at a weather station. There’s some real weather going tonight.

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Crop walking

Today’s adventure was a crop walk in association with a group of local churches. It was a six mile walk and Mom decided that everyone should go along. Since we had to transport Alice, Charles and Poly (none of whom was going to make the entire distance) and we only have one stroller, we took along Mom’s garden wagon. It actually fits nicely in the van. I ended up pulling it most of the way (although Mom spelled me a couple of times). My calfs are very sore. Hopefully I burned a few calories more than normal.

It started out cold and raining lightly as we departed the start point but it dried up soon and by about half way through it was partly cloudy and warm. I thought Mom was going to suffer for wearing her new skort but it turned out well for her.

Poly was a big hit with all of the young girls there. She was well behaved most of the trip, but jumped out of the wagon once early on. Mom was pulling at the time and managed to run over Poly with two tires. Poly didn’t like that much, but seemed undamaged. On the other hand, she never tried to get out of the wagon again. Alice and Charles also spent the entire trip in the wagon. Mom plans on making Charles walk the whole thing next year, which should be entertaining for the other families.

Corwin was much less whiny this year than last year, although maybe it was because with Jack along Corwin didn’t have to spend as much time pestering Anwen. Corwin only asked “are we done yet?” twice. He was chipper all the way to the end. Therefore, my plan for next year is to get a couple of rock climbing harnesses and hook up Jack and Corwin to the wagon. Alice will be old enough to wield a riding crop by then. Jack’s mom thought it was a great idea.

When we first arrived, Mom and Alice went in to register while the rest of us waited in the car (because Poly wasn’t allowed in the church). Eventually Charles got tired of waiting.

Charles: When Mom going to come back?

Dad: I don’t know. Maybe she left us.

Corwin: Don’t you have car keys?

Dad: No. Mom “lost” hers and has mine today. She’s always been a careful planner.

Charles: [sadly] I gonna miss her.

[Charles pauses for a moment, then jumps out of his chair and hugs a couple of old Diet Coke cans Mom left in the van]

Charles: But I got cans!

Charles also thought it was OK to replace Mom with Miss Darcy. Mom was less than amused to hear that.

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Lady of the Dance

Alice grooves to her Laurie Berkner music video

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Budding artist

Alice has been enjoying chalk out on the sidewalks. She tends to draw more than eat it now, which is good. Alice focuses primarily on portrature, drawing little lines and saying that they are drawings of various people like Mom, Corwin, Charles, etc.

On the other hand, now that Alice doesn’t eat chalk as much, Poly has taken to it as a chew toy. It’s like having another child. We bought a variety of chew toys for Poly, but she prefers bark and chalk.

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Home work

Mom had some home improvement projects yesterday. She put in four new trees on the south, next to the dead end street. Charles “helped” with the digging, which saved Mom minutes of work. Corwin was set to painting the top of the wooden railing out front. He did a reasonable job without making much of a mess. Alice mostly just hung around being cute. Mom also arranged for it to rain heaviy today, to help out with the watering. She’s so thorough.

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Saturday 01 April 2006

Weekly Soccer Report

Corwin’s soccer team had its first game of the season today. It was a hard fought game but Corwin’s team lost 1-2. The other team score in the 2nd quarter against Corwin. Corwin wasn’t happy about that but it was a high kick. Corwin was in the right place but it went right over him, despite his holding up his hands and jumping. Corwin had some good saves and had a great catch of a corner kick.

Corwin’s team scored their own goal in the 3rd quarter. They did a lot better in the second half of keeping the ball on the other team’s side. Corwin took several good shots but didn’t score. One of them looked like it was going right in but rolled the wrong way at the last moment (I couldn’t see if it was a ground imperfection or the ball having too much spin).

Unfortunately, the other team managed to get a goal just before the end of the game. Jack had tried to grab the ball as goalie but didn’t have a good grip on it when he got hit by a sliding opponent and lost the ball in to the goal.

Still, it was a good game. The team got off to a slow start but played very well in the second half. Corwin did well as goalie and on offense, so I think it will be a good season.

Charles had a good time, playing with Anwen and Kirsten. He hugged Anwen so hard that she stumbled down the hill, clutching her side. Charles ended up with a bloody lip later, so you could call it even. Kirsten nursed Charles as he recoverd from his injuries.

Alice was not in such a good mood. Early on she was cheering Corwin (“go, Corwin!”). Later, though, she became very upset and would not be placated. Poor Mom had to stand for half the game with a crying Alice.

Season Summary.

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Bad influences

You think you can protect your child from bad influences. You think you can trust people you’ve known for a long time, people you invite in to your house. Then, suddenly, you discover how wrong you are. Erica has thoroughly corrupted Charles. If you are brave, click down below to see what unsavory things Erica has lead our sweet little boy into.

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