Wednesday 28 February 2007

Cargo couch run

Alice drives while Corwin rides shotgun

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Corwin reading update

Corwin recently consumed the Eragon and Eldest books. Now he was been looking at the Inheritence Triology fan sites to find information about upcoming final book in the trilogy. These are the first seriously long books I recall him reading. Perhaps Tolkien and Asimov are in his near future.

The search for fan sites also coincides with an increased use of the web and search engines for school research, which means that we probably need to get serious about securing the kids’ subnet.

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Conversations with the boys

It sometimes isn’t clear whether the boys still like the violin. Often they whine about practice, and I’m often not as patient as I should be with them. Corwin is progressing enough that his practice actually takes a real amount of time.

While Charles was in the tub this morning, I asked him if he still enjoyed playing the violin. Without hesitation, he said that he did. When I asked him why, he said that he wanted to play like Corwin, because “he is the master”.

However, I think Corwin must be feeling the time crunch. I asked him this morning about signing up for baseball. He said that he didn’t want to sign up. When asked why, he said that he didn’t want to be so “overscheduled”. Hopefully, I’m not projecting my stress on him. I told him to think about it some more, and he could change his mind by Thursday if he wanted.

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Tuesday 27 February 2007

Battle of Potty-loo

I called Mimi this evening to talk about our upcoming trip to TexHome. I managed to catch her just as she got in the door from work. Apparently this really ticked her off, because she used her Grandmotherly powers to wreak chaos in the house1.

As I am conversing with Mimi, I hear off in the distance Mom making distressed “Alice!” calls. Upon inquiry, she calls back over her shoulder as she disappears upstairs “I found a naked Alice covered in poop coming up the basement stairs”. Well. That kind of comment can frequently be an indication of a spot of unpleasentness somewhere in the otherwise smooth operation of the household. Naturally, being a good, responsible Dad I pondered the situation a bit and then decided that perhaps I should inspect the basement, just in case there was more to the situation than Mom had already dealt with.

I wouldn’t want to say that the basement was a pit of unspeakable poopy horror (because this is a family weblog), but I will say that at least Poly wasn’t involved. It was clear that Alice had suffered a containment failure and, despite having a pullup on at the time, decided that she was not going to request decontamination while suffering the discomfort of a full and stinky diaper, so she took off her one piece pajamas and pull-up before evacuating the disaster zone.

After reporting my observations to Mom (heavily engaged in extracting Alice from the fallout), she issued me a hazmat suit, a full load out of cleaning equipment, and orders to reclaim ground zero. Mimi, assured that her revenge was proceeding properly, signed off so as to avoid giving voice to revealing chuckles.

I am happy to report that we have made a full recovery with no loss of personel. I didn’t even toss my cookies.

1 What else could it have been? Our sweet children would never misbehave so on their own. The “coincidental” timing gives it away.

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Name of the Brother

I used to think Charles mispronounced Corwin’s name by moving the ‘w’ to after the ‘C’ for “kwor-in” but in fact he is adding a ‘w’ with a bit of a New England accent and saying “Kwahr-win”. I had become so accustomed to it that I had to hear it multiple times to be sure.

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Growing in to her proper role

Alice and Charles were in my office last night, fighting over who got to play on my tertiary computer. Charles managed to get control and was playing some moderately complex game (that he could just barely play) when Alice regained dominance. Alice then proceeded to play the game very badly, which made Charles very upset. I tried to convince Alice to let Charles play, since she wasn’t doing very well, but Alice was adamant about control. I told Charles “maybe Alice is just being a mean sister” which Alice took as rhetorical salvation, repeating over and over “I just a mean sister!” in response to any supplication by Charles.

P.S. Remember, Alice is not a “Ferocious Beast”, she’s just a “Ferocious Alice”. She has also taken to denying, even as she stalks around growling, that she is an Alice-saurus.

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Monday 26 February 2007

To the salt mines

This weekend was a big building weekend for Corwin. The Pine Wood Derby is this coming Saturday but we didn’t get the kit until last week, meaning we had to do the base cut, prime, and paint over the weekend. In addition, Corwin has had a project about Native Americans for a week or two, but was switched to a new tribe on Thursday with the project due today, so that had to be done over the weekend as well. We worked him hard, quite a change from the care free days when he could just climb mountains for the heck of it.

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Sunday 25 February 2007

What's wrong with velcro?

Alice models her new flashy pink shoes

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Saturday 24 February 2007

Bouncing through the snow

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Too hot to handle

[Alice and Dad are in the basement]

Dad: I’m going to touch you!

Alice: No. My hands are very hot because I am touching this [ball in her hand].

Dad: I will touch your tummy then.

Alice: No, my tummy very hot too. You shouldn’t touch because it’s very hot.

Dad: Oh.

[Alice wanders over to her kitchen and splashes “water” on her hands and tummy]

Alice: You can touch my hand now.

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Friday 23 February 2007

Packed seating

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Thursday 22 February 2007

She'll make quite the drama queen

Alice was walking around the other day when she tripped and fell on the floor. I recommended that she not do that. This resulted in her saying “I just do that” and then repeatedly taking a few steps then throwing herself to the floor while noting “I fell down again!”. This was apparently a big deal for her because she did it again for a while for Mom the next day. Just another example of Alice’s strong will, where if her parents think she shouldn’t hurt herself by falling on the floor, she’ll show them!

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Wednesday 21 February 2007

Lost and tired in a white wilderness

Alice the Explorer

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Language tick watch

When Charles is done with dinner, he’s not “full”, he’s “filled”.

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Tuesday 20 February 2007

Kitchen update

The kitchen upgrade is about half done now. The counters are in and the sink is hooked up as Dad noted earlier. The cooktop is installed and the electrical strips are installed. What remains is getting the oven and super microwave installed (waiting on cabinetry work) and installing the tile.

The cooktop is inductive. We’re cooking with magnets! This involved getting mostly new pots, but it was worth the effort. Water comes to a boil amazingly fast. The old cooktop was slow even by normal standards. It was an electric cooktop with big metal disks. The disks would keep the heat, but there was a considerable lag time between turning on a burner and getting appreciable heat. I now have to untrain myself from planning ahead and turning on a burner several minutes before I need it. The inductive cooktop is very efficient. Very little of the cooking energy is wasted to non-cooking heat. And it is responsive. I turn down a burner and immediately, the food stops cooking as fast. So amazing!

Wiring the electrical strips was my task last weekend. It was a suprising pain. Got the drywall repaired. Got the base installed. Got the top part wired and tested. Then we spent the next 24 hours trying to get the top to fit into the base. Evidently we bent something along the way. Finally, I gave up and bought a new strip and got the thing installed. But it is nice to have more than one outlet in the kitchen again.

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Gratuitous Picture of the Day

Last sledding for the season

More pictures

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Monday 19 February 2007

Public Service Annoucement

While sledding today, I got a few nice shots of two other girls using my newly built ramp. I promised their moms that I would upload the pictures but no one had anything to write down the URL with, so if they remember enough to find this kidlog, your pictures are here. As usual, they turned out better than the pictures of the kids I knew. (I like the hat progression on the first girl — otherwise you might swear they were all the same picture).

I think what I need to do next time there’s a big snow is get there early, build a good ramp and run, then take pictures as the kids go by and sell those to the parents. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

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Mystery photo contest!

Mom likes this picture so much that she had it framed and put it on the wall in the eating area. Corwin noticed it (a minor miracle in itself) and wondered what it was. Despite Corwin having been about 5 feet from me when I took the picture, he has not been able to figure it out for the last several weeks. If either of our readers knows, please drop a comment to enlighten our perplexed progeny.

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Past the expiration date?

[Dinner time]

Mom: Corwin is going over to Jack’s house tomorrow.

Charles: What are you doing with Corwin?

Dad: We’re getting rid of him.

Corwin: I’m not even ten years old!

Dad: Yes, but you’re just not funky fresh anymore.

Charles: Corwin is so funky fresh!

Alice: Yes! Corwin is funky fresh, Daddy!

Dad: Corwin, what do you think of that?

Corwin: I’m not that old!

[Later, taking dishes up to the sink]

Dad: Charles, what about you? Are you funky fresh?

Charles: [ponders for 4 or 5 seconds] Yes.

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Sunday 18 February 2007

It's a very self referential night

[Dad is trying to work while Corwin is commenting on this kidlog and Alice is playing on the other computer]

Alice: Daddy, I need some paper!

Dad: OK.

Alice: I got it on my hands.

Dad: Alice, don’t do that. Your hands are not paper, do not draw on your hands. [pause] Alice, Daddy’s desk is not paper either, do not draw on it.

Alice: OK.

Corwin: You should post that conversation!1

Dad: [chuckles] Corwin, I have already done that one.

Although, now that I check the archives, I don’t actually see a specific instance about the paper rule — “Alice must draw on paper, and must not draw on not paper”. Alice drawing on herself, I have that covered.

1 Corwin was clearly still miffed about this effort, which I wrote while he was reading the weblog. He was impressed that I could crank out content that quickly.

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Double Air Time

Took Corwin and Josh out for some sledding this afternoon. They had a great time. I spent my time there hauling snow around, first to build the ramp and then later to improve the run on the hill. The sun and wind had thinned out the snow so that dirt and grass was sticking up in places. I made the boys haul up sled loads of snow each trip for a while to build a run for the ramp. It ended up so popular that there was a line for a while waiting to try it out. The activity kept me very warm and was a lot cheaper than going to the gym. Oddly, I hurt some muscle in my lower back somehow with all the shoveling, but it feels just fine when I’m working. Once I got back in the car, then it starts hurting.

A few more pictures.

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They're never too young to be introduced to the power of the edit

Corwin came in to my office to read the kidlog today. I think he’s read it before, once or twice, but this is the first time I remember him actually requesting to do so.

Dad: You can’t read that!

Corwin: Why not?

Dad: Jack can read it, but you can’t. That’s wrong.

Corwin: Why?

Dad: Oh, allright, you can read it. But maybe I should start writing more interesting things on there. Like “…and this morning Corwin was trying on all his sister’s dresses again…”.


Dad: Doesn’t matter. If I write it, it becomes true.

Corwin: You’d do that just because I’m reading it?

Dad: Yep.

Any parent not taking advantage of the new ways to cruelly embarass their children via the internet is just not trying.

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Saturday 17 February 2007

Alice's Anatomy

Today I was helping Alice go potty1, sitting in the chair at the top of the stairs while Alice used the potty. She looks down in to the toilet and announces “I don’t have a penis”. I was forced to concur. Alice then told me that her brothers had them, and then reminded me that I had one too. I did convince her that Mom didn’t. Alice then observed that since she didn’t have one, “I only have a butt!”. I decided that more precise knowledge was not required at the time and left things at that.

Later she decided to call that part of her anatomy her “front-butt”.

1 This consists primarily of

  • chiding Alice as she goes up the stairs so that she isn’t stuck from watching TV
  • sitting nearby while she takes care of things because Alice refuses to use the potty without a parental presence
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Snow burn

Dad is tired. I shoveled the driveway again today (with some help from Corwin) — at least it was only a couple of inches this time.

Later in the day Mom and I took the kids out for some sledding. The kids had a reasonable time, although Alice only wanted to go down the hill once, after which she wanted to watch. I naturally worked on my exhaustion by taking along a snow shovel and helping to build a ramp at the bottom of the hill.

Meanwhile, Mom took a run down the hill herself and managed to plow in to a couple of middle school aged kids. They reacted with mock anger and fake pummeling, apparently not realizing that Mom was a Mom and not a somewhat older kid. Perhaps my “nice plow!” comment threw them off, but more likely it is Mom’s incredibly youthful beauty.

After working myself on the ramp, Charles managed to throw a shoe and I had to carry him back to the van because there wasn’t any place nearby without a couple of feet of snow on it. If you want a good work out, carry a 40 pound squirmy boy through 2-3 foot snow drifts. Yeah, I can feel the burn.

Click here for some pictures of the big snow around the house.

Corwin hits the ramp

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Friday 16 February 2007

You can't make me talk!

Charles is in speech therapy still and now and then we get this little notes instructing us to have him practice some particular phoneme. We almost never do it because Charles will not cooperate. The previous time I tried, he literally collapsed to the floor in tears the moment I read the note out loud. Today he had another note and, while he didn’t starting crying and claiming I hated him, when offered the choice of speaking or getting a “super ultra hyper mega atomic wedgie” while my fingers were already grasping the elastic band on his underwear, he chose the wedgie.

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Gratuitous Picture of the Day

The explorers are excited to find a mystic portal

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Thursday 15 February 2007

She's just trying to help

I read weblogs by using an online program which tracks which weblogs have new posts for me, rather than hitting the weblogs manually and seeing for myself. This works well most of the time, except that recently I had thought that one weblog I liked had gone oddly unproductive lately. Today I found out that apparently POset had deleted that weblog out of my RSS feed list by walking on the keyboard at some inorportune moment.

I frequently have to fix compiler errors due to extra bits of text POset puts in my code, so I suppose it’s not terribly surprising that I have to fix other errors. Nothing, however, can compare to the joy of coming back from the kitchen with a nice, hot cup of coffee and seeing POset laying on the keyboard while my email programming is beeping furiously as a result.

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Gratuitous Picture of the Day

Charles, the “I don’t want to go sledding” boy

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Sinks and schools — what a wonderful day!

Things are looking up today. The plumber is here to fix the sink, the boyen have been sent back to school, and Alice should be heading out soon. As the boyen went out for the bus, I told them to walk around through the driveway so they wouldn’t tromp through the 3-4 foot deep snow on the way in just jeans and shoes before waiting around in the cold for the bus. They dutifully did that, until they got to the corner at which point Corwin charged in to the snow. Not quite grasping the concept, I fear.

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Wednesday 14 February 2007

Snowed in, Day Two

We are now in our second day of being snow bound. The day has turned out to be nice. A bit brisk, but really beautiful blue skies and not much wind. Mom and I traded off shoveling the driveway. We even made Corwin help a bit. Eventually after literally hours of shoveling, we managed to get the van out and on the road so Mom could get some desperately need supplies (milk and Pop-Tarts).

We have also been without a kitchen sink since Monday. Alledgedly that will get fixed tomorrow morning.

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Tuesday 13 February 2007

At home with the blizzard

For once, the warnings of Big Snow were accurate

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Monday 12 February 2007

Oblivious is my middle name

Mom has spent most of the day working on her kitchen project (which I am sure she will be writing up Real Soon Now). Corwin, of course, noticed none of it. I mentioned to him that we were trying to hold back on dirtying dishes because of the lack of sink (the new one is there, but we’re waiting on the plumber to hook it up) so he and Jack charged in to the kitchen to check it out. While observing that, Corwin remarked “I wonder when Mom is going to put in the new counter tops”. I said I thought that maybe she had abandoned that idea and the counter tops would stay as they were.

P.S. Jack thought the new stove was cool looking.

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Hard core

Today, Charles was so eager to play Rise of Nations that he said I could call him “Squeezy Sugar-Bear” as long as I let him play afterwards.

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Sunday 11 February 2007

Yearly sledding outing

I finally managed to get the boyen out for some sledding yesterday afternoon. Charles broke down in tears when told he had to go along, but he managed to have fun anyway. We were lucky it was so cold, normally the snow disappears in a day but it has lasted since Tuesday.

Corwin managed to get snow on his underwear without noticing. I ended up spotting the fact that one side of his snow pants had come undone and he was dragging his clad only in underwear butt along the snow. Clearly the boy is packing too much internal packing.

Here are some videos of the outing

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State of imagination

I frequently tease Alice by asking where she obtained various of her body parts. She now generally answers “from the — store”, filling in the appropriate part, e.g. that she got her toes from the toe store. Today I pestered her about her hair while I was brushing it (Mom having declare that 3 days without brushing was 3 too many).

Dad: Where did you get all this hair?

Alice: At the hair store.

Dad: Ah.

Alice: The hair store is far away. It’s in Tennessee.

Dad: Really? Mommy drove you down to Tennessee to get your hair?

Alice: Yes. It a long way.

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Saturday 10 February 2007

Return of the Queen

The Mother Ship has returned. Alice was thrilled to see her and refused to be put down. Charles asked “can I play Rise of Nations”. I don’t know if Corwin noticed.

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Safety tips for space travelers

[Driving home from daycare]

Alice: Is the sun made of burning stuff?

Dad: Burning stuff?

Alice: Yes. The sun is very hot.

Dad: Yes, it is.

Alice: Don’t touch suns. They very hot and burn you.

I couldn’t argue with that.

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Broken Daddy

While Mom was away, I tried to do violin lessons. However, I didn’t do them exactly correctly and caused Charles much distress, leading to the follow exchange —

Charles: That no good!

Dad: It’s not?

Charles: My whole day not going good!

Dad: It’s not?

Charles: No! Because you not working right!

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Friday 09 February 2007

Even my own daughter doubts my skills

Alice has been having more conversations with imaginary people lately. This week she had a long conversation with “Niko” on the way back from daycare. Niko was sitting over in Charles’ seat while Alice explained all sorts of things to him, such as

I tried to participate in the conversation, but Alice said “You can’t talk! You driving!”. Hmmmph. Alice never says that to Mom.

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Double trouble

Calm before the storm

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Thursday 08 February 2007

Gratuitous Picture of the Day

What is the use of a weblog without pictures, wondered Alice

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Alice progress report

Tonight, Alice prepared herself for bed by getting naked, going potty, putting on a pull-up, getting pajamas out of the drawer and putting them on, all by herself. She was very proud of her accomplishment.

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Meeting the next generation

While I’ve been slaving away in California, I had the opportunity to meet the twin boys of a friend from grad school. The boys just turned two and are very cute. Although they are twins, they each have a very distinct look and personality. While the boys were very well behaved, it looks like having two little ones the same age would be very exhausting.

Since Alan was not there and I was lame and forgot to bring in my phone camera, there is no photographic evidence.

I’m heading over to dinner this evening to have dinner with another friend (from Cisco). He has a daughter about a year older than Alice. Next time out, I’ll need to smuggle in a child in the luggage so they can play.

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What we have here, is a failure to communicate

Skip on to the next post if you’re not a geek. Otherwise, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Before she left, Mom and I were talking in the kitchen about various engineering projects, both work and the kitchen. Mom started talking about “demo” — “we need to demo this before Monday”. I was a bit confused, as she would be back from her trip by Monday, so shouldn’t we have a demo of the product ready well before then? I asked her if she had a business meeting scheduled Monday and she gave me look #371. It turns out that by “demo” Mom meant “demolish”, as in “demolish the current counter tops so her new high tech counter tops can be installed”. You know she’s in a bit far when she’s picking up trade lingo (I blame HGTV).

1 “You are obviously too confused to be coherent, but because I am an innately tolerant person, you get once chance to correct your manifest failure to pay proper attention”

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Not quite as generic as I thought

In order to make Corwin’s life a little more miserable, I decided this afternoon to make him help with shoveling snow off the driveway. But, as I went to do that, I saw poor Polynomial eyeing me from the couch. As a result, I offered to Corwin the choice of running around with Poly while I shoveled, or vice versa. Corwin choose to shovel while I took Poly on a run. I hadn’t realized that “a dog is a man’s best friend” was quite so age specific.

Eventually, when Poly started getting cold because she romped through a still running stream, I let Corwin take her back inside while I did some more shoveling. I don’t think it matter, because Corwin’s technique was to fling the snow from the shovel with a big wide swing. The snow being very dry, this basically created a snow cloud that then settled back on the drive way. I would be surprised if more than a double handfull of snow actually made it off the driveway for each of his shovel fulls. Still, I needed the exercise, although I came in myself once the spasms in my lower back made standing difficult.

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Wednesday 07 February 2007

Each travels in her own way

Mom’s off on vacation again, until Saturday, visiting balmy Califorinia while we freeze. In honor of htat, here’s a picture of Alice spinning.

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Tuesday 06 February 2007

Whoa, doggy!

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Apparel priorities

It’s time for bed and Alice needs to go potty. I have her strip down so that I can put her pajamas on after going potty. After finishing up on the potty, Alice holds up a finger to me with what appears to be some nose residue, saying “what’s that?”. So I get a tissue and wipe it off. Turns out that’s it really a scab I have just ripped off her finger. Alice is discomforted, but not actually bleeding, so I try to get her in to pajamas. Alice, however, knows that getting a band aid on a wound that hurts is far more important than any silly clothes. I get to have a naked little Alice on my lap while I try to put a band aid on the tip of her finger (which, of course, does not hold still unless I hold her arm myself because Alice wants to gesture with it to emphasize the fact that SHE NEEDS BAND AID RIGHT NOW!). At this point Mom walks by and — using her keenly developed Mommy Wisdom — says, “shouldn’t you put some pajamas on her?”.

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Monday 05 February 2007

Ice Ice Boyen

Jack was over this afternoon. Mom had decreed that I need to take the boyen out to the frozen pond again, so off we went. Charles very much didn’t want to go, but Mom was out gallivanting somewhere so he had to come along. He complained and whined the whole way there, but eventually when the boys discovered something they could smash with rocks, he had a good time.

The boys had found the stream that comes out of the pond frozen over. It apparently froze over twice, with snowfall in between because there was a thin layer of ice over some snow over more ice. The boys had a lot of fun smashing the top layer of ice. Eventually they tried extracting large pieces of the top ice layer. Jack and Corwin retrieved one large piece, which I said I would take a picture of when we got home. It didn’t make it to the sidewalk before it was smashed in to small, unimpressive pieces (which, nevertheless, the boyen carted home as prizes).

While we were there, I decided to try and let Poly have a bit of fun, as she had be chafing at the leash the entire time we were there. So, while the boys were running around on the ice and I was in the middle of the pond, I let her off the leash to play with the boys. She was off like a rocket and blew right past the boys before disappearing in to the woods. Such reward for my generosity. I eventually tracked her down to the horse pasture on the other side of the woods, where she was annoying the horse and snarfing down horse poop. Poly did the latter by charging at the mounds and biting at it as she passed, getting a mouth full while simultaneously spraying bits of it all around. I managed to get past her, at which point she ran back to Corwin, who grabbed her until she was re-leashed. It seems a shame to keep her restrained while the boys are playing, but her seeming desire to romp with the boys is apparently just a ploy.

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Sunday 04 February 2007

Exploring the ice cap

Mom sent the boys, Poly, and me out of the house because she was tired of us. As an excuse, she told us to check if the last week or two of sub-freezing weather had frozen the pond. As it turns out, it had. When we got to the pond, there was a group of people playing hockey. One of them told me later that he had done some drillling and determined that the ice was 4-5 inches thick over most of the pond. The boys and Poly thought the ice was a lot of fun. I took pictures so I could prove later that it had really frozen.

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Saturday 03 February 2007


Charles’ drawing of “Shippy”, the battle ship he received for his birthday. It has a couple of round bumps and a wheel on the bottom to allow it to move easily on a solid floor. I like how Charles has faithfully drawn those. I think the embedded rectangle in the back is meant to be the drawer in the side.

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Friday 02 February 2007

Why are you still here?

Last night, after the kind of effort only a very devoted and considerate husband would undertake, I took Mom out to see a particular movie she was interested in. I had previously browbeat Kirsten in to coming over to watch the spawn and mentioned this to the boyen in the morning. That was my mistake.

[Charles arrives homes from school]

Charles: Where is Kirsten?

Dad: She’s not here yet. That’s not till this evening.

Charles: You said that Kirsten come over! But you still here!

When I picked up Kirsten, her sister Ali, wanted to come along (or was pushed, the two of them constituting the entire complement of children there) to hang out with Alice. This left Kirsten to watch the boys. Charles wasted no time in putting his suave moves on her by explaining how to play Rise of Nations. I could see the look of fear in Kirsten’s eyes as she realized what kind of sweet talk Charles had in his arsenal.

Mom and I got home around 9:30 and Kirsten had all three kids in bed, asleep. Even Alice, who is normally just warming up her bed jumping act around that time. I forgot to check for blunt force head trauma this morning, but Mom thinks Kirsten is just good with pillows.

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Thursday 01 February 2007

Signs of the seasons

You know it’s winter when Alice’s hair sticks to the couch

Posted by Dad at 8:39 AM | Comments (0) | Trackbacks – Ping URL