Friday 31 August 2007

Hot new game

What the kids are playing these days — jump on Corwin

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Thursday 30 August 2007

Not in a sharing mood

Dad: Charles, how was your day at school?

Charles: La la la la la la

Dad: Charles, Dad is going to give you a choice. You can practice violin with Mom, have Dad beat you with a stick, or tell me about your day at school.

Charles: Beating with a stick.

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Wednesday 29 August 2007


Today was the boys first day back at school for this school year. Corwin’s in 5th and Charles is now a first grader. Next year we will have all of the kids in different schools, which should make for extra fun.

The boys weren’t very excited this morning about returning to the halls of learning, but we managed to get them on the bus. Of course, shortly after that Mom, Alice, and I headed over to the school for the opening ceremonies and to meet the boys teachers. Mom and I tried to get information out of the boys at supper but neither would talk about anything that went on. Mostly. Mom did get Charles to admit that he had spoken with his teacher, but not what he said.

Mom has also started school again, so it was kind of odd to be home all alone again. Still, that means it’s pants optional from 10 to 3 every week day now.

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Clone wars

Charles’ ATAT Squad

Once again, note the different block selection with identical exteriors. Charles also had a couple of wet navy carriers with the same property.

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Tuesday 28 August 2007

Ice doggie

Mom had to lock the ice dispenser on the refrigerator for a while because Alice decided that Polynomial needed ice water in the heat. Poly loves ice, which would be fine except that she leaves little bits of it all around. Stepping in to little puddles made of unknown proportions of water and Poly emission is not one of our favorite activities, leading to the ice lockdown. Luckily, after a few days Alice moved on to other interests and we once again have free range ice.

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Monday 27 August 2007

Alice is not a sloth

Who are you going to believe, Alice or the lying camera?

P.S Although she got very upset when I said she looked like a flying space monkey caterpillar.

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Sunday 26 August 2007

Shoe, boy!

Our big excitement today was going out to by new shoes for Corwin. I think he had been wearing size 4 or so, but we had to get him size 6 shoes to find something that fit. He wanted to get some Vans Brasco shoes but apparently his foot is too tall and we couldn’t find any to fit him (they all made him complain about too much pressure on his instep). Eventually, though he found some shoes he could wear in size 6. Mom found Alice some pink Barbi snow boats because, you know, Alice doesn’t have enough footwear and winter’s just around the corner. It was all we could do to convince her not to wear them out of the store.

BUT it was half price off a second pair, and the Barbi boots were only $15, so to save the family some real money I picked up pair of the Vans Brasco shoes, because they made me look like a rock star. Well, more than usual.

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Saturday 25 August 2007

Taking a hike

Corwin and I went off with the Cub Scouts for some hiking today. We were supposed to go to a large but distant state park but it rained buckets last night and that storm was sitting on the target park this morning. So we went to a smaller, nearby park instead. Corwin was a good hiker, although we ended only going 2½ miles so his mettle was not truly tested. It was somewhat damp but not actively raining (much). Still, there were some good places on the trail with overhanging foliage where a well timed shake could send cascades of water down on a young boy. Not that I would do that. At least, not a lot. Well, not all the time.

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Friday 24 August 2007

All together now

The kids have all returned. Just a few more days and they’ll all be in school. Yay!

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Thursday 23 August 2007

Gratuitous Picture of the Day

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Wednesday 22 August 2007

Clever boys

We traded out Corwin for Charles. Charles saw his time at Grandma’s a primarily a way to acquire more Legos™ by building a Star Destroyer and three ATATs which naturally he couldn’t destroy or leave behind, thereby transferring their constituent elements to our house. He’s a clever boy, that Charles.

Corwin is almost as clever. Mom wanted him to take his violin along to Grandma’s to practice, but Corwin some how got his violin teacher to break his bow and see to it that no violin store in the state had a replacement. If only we could get him to use his powers for good.

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Tuesday 21 August 2007

Enough socializing

Alice started school again yesterday. Her first day went well — she had been eager to go and “see her little friends” again. Today, however, she decided that one day was enough and it would be more fun to watch Dora all day instead. Mom got stuck with explaining that during the fall, school time, one had to go to school every day. “It not fall time!” was Alice’s opinion.

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Monday 20 August 2007

Kicking season

Soccer practice started today. Charles had to miss it because he’s at Grandma’s, but Corwin was sent off in the near rain to get warmed up for the season. It will be interesting to see how Charles reacts when he’s told it’s time for practice on Wednesday (at least the boys are on the same schedule this season, although that will make attending games a bit trickier).

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Corwin gets sketched

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Sunday 19 August 2007

Notty child

Alice has become quite a contrary little girl. She now denies most everything I say, generally adding that “no one in the whole world has that!”. She will quickly become very upset if I persist on making my claim, which is amusing to me but Mom doesn’t appreciate it.

For instance, I used to tease Alice about having “grapey toes” which amused her. Now “no one in the whole world has grapey toes!”. I tried other things, like

  • Raisin belly-button
  • Soba noodle hair
  • Donut ears
  • Chocolate eyes
  • Mint teeth
  • Slim-Jim fingers
  • Walnut knees

but Alice denied having any and all of them. I can’t even sing any of my Alice songs anymore, because Alice claims the songs don’t exist, not in the whole world.

The best one, though, was when Mom brought her back from Grandma’s, which went something like this:

Mom: Alice was a perfect little angel for Grandma, except for some containment failures, but when I picked her up she turned in to devil child.


Well. Who could argue with that?

Not a debil child

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Saturday 18 August 2007

Art day

Our family activity today was going out to a local arts festival. There was a kids area, where Corwin got to grind chick peas in to hummus, watch a local disabled group put on a magic show, and have his caricature drawn after waiting a long time. The artist was drawing three young very attractive girls and oddly he didn’t seem in any hurry to finish.

Alice’s primary concern was getting a balloon. We arrived too late for them, although Mom somehow scrounged one up/ Alice carried the balloon with her as a dear companion until she popped it walking back to the car while being a bit too vigorously friendly.

Alice did spend quite a bit of time dancing in the street while we waited for Corwin’s sketching to start. She found a blue feather somewhere and decided it was an air brush, meaning it could paint on air. Alice then engaged in a combined art assault, dance, painting, and singing. A bit exuberant, but what could they say at an art festival?

In the evening, while I worked, everyone else watched the Naruto marathon on Cartoon Network. I think Mom’s become a bit too caught up in it. At least Corwin’s psychic distance is maintained because it occasionally has emotional content, which forces him to cover his ears and pace in agony about the room. Not that he’d stop watching, you understand. It’s painful, but not as painful as being un-electronically stimulated.

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Friday 17 August 2007

Growth demonstration

Alice: What were you doing, Daddy?

Dad: I was watering my new grass. Maybe I should water Alice as well, so she’ll grow bigger.

Alice: I don’t need water to grow bigger.

Dad: You can grow bigger without water? But the grass needs water to grow.

Alice: I don’t. I will show you. [Alice poses with one hand extended, flat] See? That how you grow bigger without water, just like you.

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Thursday 16 August 2007

Trading in children

Mom left today to see Grandma again, with Charles in tow in order to exchange him for Alice. Mom has the entire next week or so planned out as an intricate series of such transfers, as she tries to unload the kids on Grandma while still letting them make most of their other engagements. It’s entertaining just to listen to her plotting.

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If only we could harness that for good

Charles has learned the techniques of passive resistance. We were getting on his case for refusing to do what he was told, so instead he does as directed but very slowly. One technique for this that is odd, even for Charles, is his slow walking technique. In this, he squats down, grabs his ankles from the front, and then takes little tiny steps to move forward. It seems to be a reaction to complaints about his previous technique, which was to crawl or wriggle across the floor. The corrective applied, “no, Charles, get on your feet” seems to have yielded this technically accurate response.

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Wednesday 15 August 2007

Gratuitous Picture of the Day

The city that Charles built

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Tuesday 14 August 2007

Lego, again

Scrapyard, by Charles

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Monday 13 August 2007

Sky show

Last night Mom took Charles out to look at the sky and hopefully see some of the Perseids. I joined them a bit later. Mom saw two big ones, the first with Charles and the second with me (Charles wasn’t looking the right direction at the time). We also saw what we think was a satellite, heading due south. It didn’t blink and moved rapidly across the sky, but not as fast as a meteor. Charles saw it, which would make it his first satellite spotting.

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Slow hand

Months late, but I finally have the Texas vacation pictures available.

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Sunday 12 August 2007

Vacation from kids

Alice is off to Grandma’s house today. Mom took her and Charles up to meet Grandma, then headed back here. I had to put up with Corwin all by myself, but I got through it. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be cycling the boys through Grandma’s house as well. I expect she’ll need a vacation by the time we’re done.

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Saturday 11 August 2007

Air showing

A pilot cuts a ribbon with his plane

After some morning cleaning, we all went out to a local air show. Corwin was given the choice of this or swimming at a pool and decided on the air show. Alice and Charles were dragged along because it was good for them.

We had an OK time. I think Corwin liked it, but Charles and Alice were whining shortly after we got there. Charles had no interest in the planes actually flying out over the runway a couple of hundred feet away. He only wanted to look at the static models in the attached air plane museum. Alice just wanted lemonade, treats, and to go home. Mom seemed very in to the whole experience, so we persevered.

After a few pilots did their thing, Mom gave in and let me take Charles and Alice off to the bouncy houses for kids, and then to the air plane museum. Charles refused to go on any of the bouncy stuff because it would delay his arrival at the museum. Once we got there, the first thing Charles wanted to do was tour the big EC-121 radar plane. Naturally, Alice was deathly frightened of it and going inside. I finally managed to persuade here and she was mostly OK, but our tour was a bit rushed. We wandered around the other planes for a while until Mom and Corwin returned.

They had been off getting a helicopter ride, Corwin’s first1. It wasn’t a very long ride, but Corwin was very excited about it.

After that high point we watched the last airplane, an A-4 two seater jet do some stunts. Charles didn’t like the engine noise at all, I had to jog a bit to keep up with him as he scurried away, hands over his ears. Corwin and Alice seemed unfazed, Mom seemed enraptured (although she didn’t commit to buying one herself — yet). Corwin liked the fact that the jet went fast enough that the sound noticeably trailed it. Kind of like a dubbed movie, although I don’t think Corwin’s seen one of those.

We hit the museum a bit more, but this time Mom insisted on going to the air conditioned part of it. Still, even the kids got all melty and it was time to go home to let the kids get some time to absorb the crust of education slathered on them.

1 Perhaps Mom’s first as well. I don’t think I’ve been in a helicopter that left the ground either.

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Friday 10 August 2007

In Abbyence

Summer’s definitely rolling to a close. Abby has left us and said she would be willing to come back, despite Alice’s little problems (having containment failures most of the days Abby was here, and through screaming fits over very odd things, such as my opening the currents near the kitchen table). Next week we start farming the kids out to Grandma, and the week after that Alice goes back to school, and the week after that the boyen go back to school as well.

We has Josh and Jake over today. Mom was worried that this might not be fair to Abby, but I figured (correctly) that they’d all just disappear in to the basement. Mom, however, wasn’t content to let them play computer games in the basement all afternoon, so she took them out to play computer games. Mom had been press ganged in to be a role model example for a local girls in engineering event where the girls built space themed games using the Squeak programming language. Mom took all four boys over to enjoy the fruits of their labors, which I am told they enjoyed.

UPDATE: I just noticed the remarkable thing about this picture — Charles is wearing shorts. He’s been wearing mostly long pants all summer, even in the heat, but that day he decided to let it all hang out because of the heat. The fact that it was noticeably cooler than it had been all week was an irrelevant detail.

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Thursday 09 August 2007

Gratuitous Picture of the Day

Since the kids are being lazy, I will too, and recycle from our spring break in Texas
Here we see Corwin about to get schooled by Kimberly

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Lazy bones

It’s been a slow week. The weather has been very hot and humid, discouraging the kids from going outside. We had to beat on them to even go down to the pond, so mostly they’ve been hanging about being vegetables, watching TV and playing computer games. I don’t worry about it too much as summer’s coming to close and hopefully we’ll get a break from the sauna weather next week. I also don’t want to frighten off Abby, our new child care assistant. Better to wait until she’s been sufficiently warped from exposure to our kids that no one else will hire her, and then she has to do whatever we want! Bwahahahaha! The “too young to drive” thing is a bit of a wrench in the works, though.

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Wednesday 08 August 2007

Gratuitous Picture of the Day

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Picture that

My online photo gallery passed 500,000 page loads today. You guys sure seem to look at those pictures an awful lot.

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Tuesday 07 August 2007

Weather girl

Who’ll stop the rain?

Alice, Super Horsey Princess, that’s who!

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Monday 06 August 2007

It's good to have a goal

You would think that my eldest son would be one of the most cynical, suspicious, and untrusting boys to ever walk the planet. And you would be completely wrong. Let me give you a tale of my little boy, Mr. Oblivious.

During the weekend cleaning frenzy, I noticed that Corwin’s upper body strength seemed a bit lacking. I mentioned this to Mom at dinner this evening. We quickly arranged to have a competition between Corwin and me, to see who could do the most lateral flies. I would use a pair of 20 pound dumbells while Corwin used 5 pounders, to make it more even. I wanted to do something that used the biceps and chest more, but Mom, who lives for the moments when she can call my masculinity in to question1, insisted we do something that depended on different muscles.

Corwin finished dinner first, so I suggested that he go on down to the basement and practice until Mom and I were done. Mom gave me a dirty look, so I explained “I just wanted to see if he’d fall for it”. Corwin, just about to go down the basement stairs to practice, calls back “fall for what?”. “Nothing!” I replied brightly. Corwin must have learned something from all these years, because this immediately caused him to be concerned that some what was, in fact, falling. Once put on the trail, he rapidly worked out the scam, while I desperately tried to not choke on my food from laughing.

Sadly, Mom’s plan came to fruition and Corwin was the victor, although not by much. A bit of work and my come back victory will be sure and sweet.

1 I don’t begrudge her that — after all such opportunities are obviously extremely rare.

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Send them to the Abby

This week, Erica having fled our little paradise for the crushing grind of the Real World, we had to find some other poor sucker lucky person to keep a lid on the kids. We tried all of the older sisters, but they were all too smart going to be “out of town”. Always willing to sell out a friend to save herself, Kirsten gave me Abby’s name and phone number. I did some business and this morning we had our Erica replacement. She lasted the entire day, despite Alice being a bit moodier than usual. She’ll be with us all this week. We’re still undecided about what to do about next week, although Grandma’s looking good.

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Sunday 05 August 2007

Alice is not a monkey

Who are you going to believe, Alice or the lying camera?

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Ancestral Wisdom

The other evening we were at dinner. I got Charles some milk in a cup which he promptly spilled on his shirt while trying to drink. He melted down, so naturally I couldn’t resist saying “Charles, there’s no use crying over spilled milk”.

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Saturday 04 August 2007

Old and new associates

Mom had a small social gathering last night for some old friends from our former workplace. Her primary purpose was to let one former co-worker show off his new baby to other former co-workers. Another family had a 17 month old girl, Elinor, who was initially shy but ended up playing piano duets with Alice. Corwin got to play some Magic: The Gathering with another Corwin, older son of another former co-worker. The best part was that the crew isn’t much of a drinking crowd, so Mom now has a lot of beer to keep her going.

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Friday 03 August 2007

As one door closes, another opens

Today was Erica’s last day with us. She didn’t categorically rule out another summer, but I can’t imagine her husband to be would much appreciate her moving back here for the summer.

I thought the kids were be a bit more broken up about it, but Alice wasn’t even sure about giving Erica a hug before she left. Charles was too involved in Lego construction / repair to notice. Corwin, however, got a bunch of good bye sword whacks from Erica, which should help him remember.

Perhaps the problem was that Erica’s replacement, our new TV, arrived today. Naturally, the first thing we watched on it was Maggie and the Ferocious Beast. I turned it off after that so there would be a small change the kids would interact with Erica before the end. It was partially successful, which is all I could hope for I suppose.

Mom, Alice, and Corwin are all very excited by the TV, especially after over a week without a TV. Even Mom was reduced at one point to watching the old TV with its 3 inch high display. But now we have it all in glorious high definition. Let me tell you, Dora just leaps out of the screen in HD. That makes it all worth while.

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Thursday 02 August 2007

Sticking to it

Mom took us all for a walk, during which Charles insisted on picking up as many stick as possible. In the end, he tried to convince me to help him carry some of the sticks.

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Wednesday 01 August 2007

Everybody likes that

Dad: [to Mom] Do you want to wrap Erica’s present, or should I just put it in a box?

Alice: Put it in a donut box! Erica likes that.

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Making him talk

Corwin’s excitement for yesterday was going shopping with Mom and her running over his foot with the shoppng cart while he was wearing sandals. When they got home, Corwin rushed in to tell me of the accident. Maybe Mom should run over his foot more often just so he would be willing to initiate conversation with his parents more often.

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Breaking news

After Mom and the kids went to bed, Alice came back down the stairs and called for me until I heard her over the roar of the fans. When I came out to find what the trouble was, Alice told me “I like Mommy better”, then went back up to bed. It’s good that she can share this important bulletins with me.

I told Mom about that this morning, and she tried to convince Alice that I wasn’t “ebil”, that her brothers were just being silly when they say that. As a result, when I told Alice I was nice, she told me I was being silly.

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Gratuitous Picture of the Day

Corwin and Erica set up the tent for cleaning

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