Sunday, March 01, 2015

Happy birthday, Tommy!



(Photos taken 2015-03-01.)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

January peanuts

  • Grandma Ellis listening to Melissa talk about how she burned herself once: "You'll be hurt a lot worse in life. You can get past it." Mom's cheerful like that.
  • Dad: "I don't feel old yet. In two years, that's when I'll feel old." Me: "Because you'll turn 65?" Dad: "No, because you'll turn 40."
  • Tonight [Jan 2], Mom clobbered us at Ticket to Ride. It was so lopsided that she doubled my score. My joy in introducing my parents to board games is tempered a bit by losing every night.
  • Melissa: "My gym teacher told us that we should take a bath every day. I told her that I have a very busy family and I don't think I can fit that into my schedule."
  • Me: "Did you forget about this pumpkin in the bathroom?" Rachel: "No." I pick it up. The bottom is squishy, and it makes a sloshing sound. "Yes. Yes, you did."
  • Melissa's science project (two months of work) is due tomorrow [Jan 20]. She started working on it seriously at about 4 PM. She is almost done at 9 PM. (She started from about 50% done, not from zero. Still.)
  • Developing guitar calluses on my fingertips feels like they have superglue perpetually drying on them.
  • Melissa wasn't confident in her Cream of Wheat-making skills, so she enlisted Matthew to help her. Somehow, neither of them noticed the comic book sitting on the stove next to the pot until it caught fire. In related news, every time we start to think Matthew might be ready to babysit, he proves us wrong. (They did put it out themselves.)
  • Matthew was getting ready for his campout Friday. "Matthew, why are you wearing Melissa's socks?" "Mine are all dirty." And he still didn't do his laundry until I woke him up early this morning and told him no more excuses!
  • Christine: "A lot of guys at church think playing the guitar is manly." Me: "Are you encouraging me, or laughing at me?" Christine: "Both, of course!"
  • Me: "The good news is, we won't have to wipe Tommy's butt." Rachel: "What's the bad news?" "There's poop in the tub."

Isaac's valentine's card



(Photos taken 2015-02-14.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I told you you were tired



(Photos taken 2015-02-10.)

Monday, February 02, 2015

Bubble Trouble



(Photos taken 2015-02-02.)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

December peanuts

  • Me: "I don't like Civilization Revolution. The defense bonus is too high. Those damn archers killed my catapults." Rachel: "Maybe you should play on the baby level."
  • Matthew, grouchy: "This butt paste you gave me isn't making my face feel better." Me: "What did you put on your face? Are you saying you're a butthead?" Matthew was not amused.
  • David: "I tell my co-workers that you're one of my success stories. 'My brother isn't exactly slim, but he has muscles now.'"
  • Me, muttering to myself: "Alas, poor Small World." [Our game crashed last night.] Rachel: "You were losing anyway."
  • Corinna has christened Telitha "Aunt Twilight." I think that's actually pretty cool, as three-year-old nicknames go.
  • Matthew did a 5.9 route at the climbing wall, tying his dad. (Telitha matched the same route too.)
  • [Dec 25, after unwrapping his new computer] Matthew is on steam voice chat with his friend complaining about "Windows 1.8."
  • [Dec 26] I have taken kids out in mismatched socks before. Today Isaac is wearing mismatched sandals. I have no idea what he does with them.
  • [Dec 30] Rachel and I have played dozens of hands of Coup. My parents wiped the floor with us tonight, their first time. Dad by the simple strategy of never bluffing. And nobody could read Mom's poker face. [They also clobbered us at Ticket to Ride and Love Letter before they left.]

November peanuts

  • After doing five bodyweight pullups Thursday, David declared me ready to add extra weight. I did two at +25 lb. Meanwhile David was doing +125.
  • Tommy was bored. I sat him at the table with some Cheerios. He ate a couple cheerios but started straining at his seat belt, trying to get out. I gave him some avocado. He accepted it but wasn't really interested. Still wanted out. I bit off a corner of my Doritos chip and gave it to him. That got his attention. He stayed there for another ten minutes eating Doritos with me.
  • [Nov 13] Isaac is going through multiple catalogs we got in the mail, circling things he wants for Christmas. Old school. Six year old anticipation is cute.
  • Rachel, watching Matthew steer a Warthog over his AI teammate: "If you want me to play with you, I'm driving."
  • Rachel: "Do you want to come watch Matthew's concert?" Melissa: "How long is it?" "About an hour and a half." "No, thanks. You can send me pictures."
  • At the Austin Symphony, box seats in the mezzanine. Matthew: "I feel like the old guys in the Muppet Show."
  • Filling out legal forms tonight. Rachel: "You should tell Matthew that even though you've been out of school for years, you still get homework." There's a happy thought!
  • Rachel, on Dominion: "I won, but I didn't enjoy it."
  • [Nov 28] I like the day after Thanksgiving even better, because Rachel doesn't make me wait to eat pie until after dinner. Apple, pecan, banana cream, and peach so far. Working up an appetite for pumpkin next.

October peanuts

  • Christine is back in Austin, staying with us until she can find an apartment. Mom helped her drive down. I think Corinna remembers that a year ago, Mom and Christine watched the kids while Rachel and I spent a week in London. Because she keeps clinging to me and crying, "I don't want Grandma! I don't want Christine!"
  • Christine thoughtfully let me know that she would be late "because of an accident." She neglected to mention that she was *in* the accident. "I didn't really want to talk about it," she said later.
  • Rachel: "I tripped over your foot because it was taking too much space. I couldn't help it."
  • David: "Jonathan has come a long way. A few months ago, the half mile run [JBE: actually almost 1.5] we did tonight alone would have killed him. He plowed through it like a champ and then hit some good sets of rope pullups. Then after some back extensions; ground through endurance squats/lunges and finished strong with weighted planks."
  • Christine took notes on General Conference in the same notebook she writes horror stories. I found that very amusing. (Christine clarifies: "Only one of the stories in that notebook was 'creepy'. The others were perfectly normal. That's the Jonathan filter for you though.")
  • Me: "Grant says that Lisa actually enjoyed working out with you. I find that hard to believe." David: "Lisa also weighed sixty pounds less than you do."
  • Me: "But we did leg work Monday!" David: "No, we didn't. What are you thinking of?" Me: "Mountain climbing!" David: "That's more of a shoulder exercise." Me: "Well, it exercised my legs!" David: "That's because you're top-heavy."
  • David and I both call our daughters "Christine" by mistake. David's daughter's name doesn't even start with a C.
  • Rachel: "How is Jonathan's training coming?" David: "Well, let me put it this way. He doesn't remind me quite so much of a Purdue chicken when he takes his shirt off now."
  • Matthew comes in from the back yard where he is putting up his new tent. "Mom, I need help." "Okay, but first I'm going to finish reading this story to Isaac." "How long will that take?" He knows better than to ask Dad for help of a mechanical nature.
  • Little sister Christine has her first non-intern job offer in software development. She didn't think it was worth mentioning until Rachel asked her specifically if she'd heard back...
  • Christine decided to do the body work on her car herself rather than buy a new one. First step: getting a door from a junked Buick Century. The junkyard manager stared for a minute when she came in. Finally he explained, "We don't see a lot of women in here." She totally *should* have replied that she was a mechanical engineer. No big deal.
  • David is legitimately good at fixing things now. He got the broken door off Christine's Buick, and the new one on just as Matthew and I arrived to work out. Christine closed the door... and it rattled. Her face fell. David: "Don't worry! I know what the problem is." He had Matthew and me push the door up as hard as we could, partially lifting the car up. He loosened something and tightened something else, and when he was done the door closed with a satisfying thunk.
  • Melissa, re-brushing Isaac's hair: "I know Daddy already did it, but he doesn't have a woman's touch."
  • Matthew joined my workout with David on Saturday. I was pleased to see that it was harder than he expected. But I totally understand now how the aging leader of the pack feels, knowing he can keep ahead of those young would-be alpha males still, but only for a few more years.
  • Deadlifted more than David today [Oct 13]. No doubt he is already planning revenge for our next meeting.
  • I join meetings late because if I'm early, I have to do small talk before it starts. Small talk stresses me out.
  • David: "You know, I'm not really a sadist. A sadist takes pleasure in causing pain." Me: "You totally enjoy causing pain. Even Rachel can see that." "I don't enjoy the pain; I enjoy winning!" "You enjoy both!" "Well. You got me there."
  • Christine: "When I left New Jersey, I threw away all my makeup since I didn't use it anyway. I didn't have much. Just whatever people had given me because they thought I should try it."
  • [A couple days later] I recorded an interview today (for an internal recruiting video). That is why I am wearing more makeup than Christine.
  • Corinna calls Tommy "Bubba" when speaking to him directly. I guess she picked her own nickname.
  • Me, on the phone: "... Can you make that cake for eight people?" Baker: "No problem." Rachel: "Wait! David's coming! Make it for twelve!"

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

It turns out Tommy can fit an entire Girl Scout cookie in his mouth



(Photos taken 2015-01-28.)

Miss Big

I headed up to Melissa's room to see if she was taking a nap.  On my way, I saw Corinna putting her shoes on.  She saw me and announced, "I going to park!"  I know, in a few minutes.

Coming back down, I saw Corinna out the window, pedaling on her tricycle towards the park.  By herself.

This reminds me of when I got my practice guitar Monday.  We were at the shop and she saw a beautiful pink guitar.  "I want ping guitar!" she told me.  "T'es trop petite," I told her.  You're too little.  She looked at me reproachfully.  "Mommy say I big!"

(I held firm, with the result that I had to carry a wailing Corinna puddle to the car.)

September peanuts

Apparently September was the month of David stories...
  • Did an inverted pushup today [sept 2] for the first time in about 15 years.
  • The exercise clubhouse at David's apartment has a toilet, but no sink. David: "You lift heavy weights, and you don't wash your hands. It's a manly clubhouse. Or it would be if they had any heavy weights."
  • Me: "I think I'm shot because of your run this morning." David: "My running wasn't the problem. Its yours."
  • David: "That's not part of our routine." Me: "The bent-over gasping for breath is always part of our routine." David: "If you're going to do that, at least breathe with your diaphragm."
  • Rachel: "Matthew, give Isaac a hug and go." Isaac: "But not a kiss."
  • Matthew's French horn practice drove me to put my gun range ear protection on. "We should make him practice in the garage." Rachel: "Once he went to his room, it wasn't so bad." "His room is directly above my office!" "Stuff rags in the vents. Maybe it will help. We want to encourage him." "Are you sure?"
  • David: "We'll start whenever you're ready." Me: "I'm ready, unless we're doing more leg exercises next." "We're working on the stomach next." "I can handle that." "Yes. Yes, you have plenty of stomach."
  • Rachel: "Just one order of queso?" Me: "Let's order a second for tomorrow." This is why growing up was worth it.
  • Hired someone to fix my damn printer's network issues. Tech, mumbling to himself: "Why would it think it's not connected to the network?" 10% of me is sad that I am not fixing this myself. The other 90% is delighted.
  • David: "It's hard for people to imagine what it's like to be in shape when the closest they've been is lifting light weights at Planet Fitness next to some dude eating pizza."
  • Apparently it does not go without saying that you do not pour sand down the kitchen sink. Damn it, Matthew.
  • Rachel allowed Matthew to set up the kids' new Windows laptop. He created a Matthew account with administrator powers, password protected it, and forgot the password. In fairness, he completely remembers what he INTENDED to set the password to. But that is not what he actually typed. (I found him instructions for building a USB key to reset it. He did, after three days of complaining that it was too hard.)
  • Me, doing bridges with a 25 lb weight on my stomach: "Eeeaaaaauuuuuuuugh!" David: "I haven't heard that noise since my wife was in labor!"
  • I try to pull myself up from the floor using a rubber exercise band hanging from the weight cage. It doesn't work very well. David: "For a brilliant man, you sure do a lot of stupid things."
  • David: "You know it's been a good workout when you have trouble reaching up to wipe the sweat from your eyes."
  • Rachel is watching a video on medieval obstetrics. I asked her to put on a pair of headphones, because yes I am squeamish.
  • Melissa: "If we moved to London, we'd have to learn English!"
  • Matthew offered to weed the garden in exchange for Minecraft on the XBox One. I think the draw is that multiplayer with his sister on the PC is kind of painful. Me: "Up to four in split screen? Isaac will be in heaven! ... I need to order another controller." Rachel: "Tonight."
  • Me: "I'm pretty thoroughly domesticated, at this point." Rachel couldn't stop laughing for several minutes.
  • David: "To finish our workout, we're going to do biceps." Me: "We already did biceps today." David: "A *different* part of the biceps." Me: "I'm pretty sure the biceps is a single muscle." David:
  • Corinna watched Cinderella this morning for the first time. When it was over, she wanted to watch it again immediately. Still little girl crack after 60+ years.
  • David: "For this exercise, you should take your shoes off." Me: "But your shoes are still on." David: "I'm more flexible than you are."
  • David writes: "While picking up some pizzas tonight with my niece [Melissa], after we enter the pizzeria, she commented, 'You were right Uncle David. This place really does look like a hole in the wall!' I need to be more careful what I say around her."
  • Rachel: "Did you help Corinna paint her toes?" [While Rachel was on a trip to Washington.] Me: "No. She got into your polish and painted them herself. And she painted the floor, too." "The wood, or the tile?" "Yes."

The perfect excuse

I've noticed for a while that Melissa will suddenly develop extreme bladder pressure when she's reminded to unload the dishwasher or do her homework. Yesterday we found out she's doing this at school too. Here's what her teacher wrote:

[Melissa] tends to fall behind during language arts because she avoids writing at all costs. She has recently begun spending time in the bathroom to avoid writing or completing other language arts activities and it is beginning to cost her. She will stay in the bathroom for 20 minutes up to 40 minutes or more, (resulting in at least an hour over the course of the day) with the excuse that her nose is runny -- Now, I know she has allergies, and I want her to feel comfortable going to the restroom to blow her nose, but I have discussed with her on multiple occasions that she doesn't need to spend that amount of time in the restroom to blow her nose. She is beginning to lose learning time.
 Kids are challenging.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A practice guitar

When I picked up Dad's guitar from its tune up, I took Arin's advice and got this one to practice on. It's already dinged a little on the back so I won't feel any grief when the kids inevitably add more.



(Photos taken 2015-01-26.)

Isaac's cookies

Our neighbor came to the door with Girl Scout cookies. We bought some for the family, but Isaac wanted more. He came running down with his four dollars in his hand and chased them down the driveway to get a box of his very own.





(Photos taken 2015-01-27.)