Monday, March 30, 2009

Isaac is getting bigger!

Thought I'd post some pictures of the little squirt. It's been awhile and they grow so fast!

Isaac in his cute cloth diapers. The red one is a fleece cover and soo soft. Was tempted to buy some spiffy, neat-o one-size cloth diapers by bumgenius that my friend Renee raves about, but I already have all the cloth diapers I need since Matthew was little. And at roughly $20 a pop I just couldn't justify it.


Tried to get a picture of him head on, but he kept crawling towards me too quickly. [Must EAT camera!] Good shot of his baby blues though!
His hair curls back after baths just like Melissa's did as a baby. I think he's going to have curls!

Just today. Happy baby!

Recent Pictures

Reading with Great-Grandma Sinden during our last trip to Washington.
Visiting Grandpa Don in his new office. It's really nice!

Matthew holding Isaac. Matthew loves to hold and play with his baby brother.

Pictures of me from PyCon

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Open space discussions at pycon 09

It was about 80% full to start with; then filling the rest of the
spaces became a bit of a game.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


While at the dinner table Matthew, Melissa, and I discussed what different animals ate and classified them as herbivore, carnivore, or omnivore. When we got to people, we talked about all the different kinds of food people need to eat to stay healthy and "grow BIG." The "grow big" part was added for Melissa's benefit- she's become a bit picky lately. She desperately wants to be big, though.

Matthew grew thoughtful for a moment and then chimed in, "but what about Isaac? Is he a nursivore or a milkivore?"

Thursday, March 26, 2009

This child needs to sleep better

He's been awake roughly 4-5 times and up since a little before 5 AM. This is where Daddy usually takes over and lets me rest while he gets Isaac back to sleep.

Daddy's out of town.

First I fed him, but he remained restless. I'm a pretty sound sleeper, but even I can't sleep with a squirmy baby kicking me and rolling around. So I wrapped him up and put him in his bed. He started crying. Sigh. I rocked him and he settled down and fell asleep. When placed back in his bed, full throttle crying ensued with his fists waving angrily. I picked him up and held him while rubbing his back. He calmed down and silently thrashed around for a bit, then tried to nurse. Sorry kiddo, you've eaten, you're full, the girls are empty, and I'm done. I'm NOT an all night buffet. Sorry. Exhausted, I tried putting him in his own bed while patting him, but he just cried louder. So I am singing (a tired tuneless song). He doesn't seem to mind the mediocre performance. Right now he is quiet in his bed and not tossing much. *Music* calms the savage pumpkin.

It's been over an hour of this and Mommy is beat. Matthew will be up in less than an hour to get ready for school.


I miss Jonathan when he is out of town!

[Update: 6:10 I think he's going to sleep...signing off.]

[Update 2: Well rats! He went back to sleep, but I couldn't.]

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Daddy serves breakfast

Daddy serves breakfast
Originally uploaded by jbellis
Aww yeah.

Melissa's first bouquet

Melissa's first bouquet
Originally uploaded by jbellis
I got both my girls flowers on our last trip to the store. Melissa
was _very_ pleased. Of course she wanted the pink ones.

Chasing the baby

Tonight we played "I'm going to get Isaac!" for the first time. Isaac didn't really get the running (crawling) away part, but he still enjoyed being "caught" and tickled. Baby laughs are fun!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

That's a lot of crap

This is how much stuff you need to take three kids to Grandma's for
five days.

Stealth cops

Stealth cops
Originally uploaded by jbellis
Unmarked police cars are not sporting to begin with. Now there are unmarked _SUVs_ pulling people over.

That's just not right.

Rolling over the Caravan

Rolling over the Caravan
Originally uploaded by jbellis
This is the minivan that Rachel's brothers drove in high school.  We borrowed it while we were up for the wedding.  If you couldn't tell that it's getting along in years from the dents her brothers put in it, you definitely could when you turned on the heat, and then immediately turned it back off because the smell of exhaust was overpowering.

We meant to take a picture when we rolled it over at 200k miles, but forgot until 15 miles later.

We thought Brian would get a kick out of this.

Drier hands through technology

Drier hands through technology
Originally uploaded by jbellis
With 150 employees, 90% male, in an office space designed for 30, some problems were bound to ensue. One such was the Great Paper Towel disposal problem: with that many men washing their hands, the used paper towels would quickly fill the bin and overflow to the floor.

Enter the Dyson Airblade. It dries your hands with cold air in about five seconds, literally blasting the water off of you rather than evaporating it -- you can see your skin rippling under the pressure. Truly a manly solution.

Friday, March 20, 2009

This is what $5000 looks like

This is what $5000 looks like
Originally uploaded by jbellis
We're adding 4 of these 160GB SSD cards to our database servers, for a total of $20,000 each.

It's sort of impressive for how unimpressive it looks.

Reminds me of the time I was an assistant sysadmin at BYU, and one of the memory boards in the combustion simulation lab's most expensive machine went bad. This was one of 8 256MB boards in the machine, each slightly larger in area than a sheet of paper, giving it 2GB of ram. This was when Windows 98 was new and a typical desktop had 32MB. And of course this was proprietary SGI memory which meant it was even more expensive. $15,000? It was enough to freak me out when I was handling the new one lest a freak static discharge ruin it.

This amazing toy entertained Isaac for all of lunch

Yes: a stick.

A close call

There are 4 music stations I can listen to in San Antonio: one each of classical, rock, alternative, and metal. Everything else is pop, latin, or country. My favorite is the alternative station; I like most of what they play but it's not stuff I've heard a thousand times. (Except for when they sometimes play country. Sorry guys, country is not "alternative." Especially not in Texas.)

But a couple days ago I'd turn it on in the morning driving in to work and get some latin crap. What the hell? I switched back and forth unhappily between the other stations. When I got closer to work I tried it again and this time I got the alternative station.

I thought some other station must have started up and was overpowering the poor little alternative college-radio transmitter.

But last night when I got the latin I decided to wait for the station ID to see what was going on. When the song ended the DJ started interviewing the singer, some fairly popular guy from Brazil who's won a few awards. (Although he's not that popular -- I tried to google him based on knowing that his first name was Alexander, he's from Brazil, and he's on tour in the US now including SA this weekend. I failed.) So the latin crap was from this guy's latest album to promote his tour. Presumably Monday all will be back to normal.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Matthew's Art

Matthew really likes to draw. Here are some of his most recent doodles:

Boy with Glasses (From his minimalist period)

For a long time Matthew primarily drew with pens. Lately he's become fond of oil pastels. Regardless of his medium, he often puts glasses on the faces he draws.

Valentine's (still from the minimalist period)

This was a card for Jonathan and me. Inside he wished us a Happy Valentine's Day and ended it with "Love, Matthew" Notice the glasses, and the spiky hair. A fairly accurate representation of Jonathan, I'd say! Matthew's let me know that he wants to be able to spike his hair next time I give him a haircut.

Birthday Cake

This one I think is inspired by the Hispanic culture here in San Antonio. It's supposed to be a birthday cake, but he used colors you would find more at home on the Mexican flag than a traditional birthday cake.

Boat on the water

If you look closely you can see all of the smiling people in the portholes. Guess they aren't seasick yet...

Starry (Day?)

Matthew has a series of drawings inspired by Van Gogh's starry night. This is the only day time one he's done, and I can't seem to find the night scenes (sometimes he draws a mountain, sometimes not)... Additionally he doesn't typically asked how to spell words, if he doesn't know he just guesses phonetically. Hence the "Mete the new picture. I like it. What do you think about it." I'm rather surprised that he knew how to spell "picture" but not "meet!" Go figure.

A Game

This is a game Matthew designed. He explained all the rules and details to me, but it was pretty involved. Rather than misrepresenting some fine point I will just say that it included robots, guns, tricky parts and was "cool."

[Jonathan notes: he got our neighbor Joseph to play the game with him. It involved killing bad guys, of course. It sounded an awful lot like Savage Moon on paper. After about ten minutes Joseph started asking plaintively, "can we play something else now?" Matthew tried and failed to get him to keep playing until they beat the boss. Then he tried to get Rachel to play. And then me. I sort of felt turning him down but it really did sound excruciating.]


Not sure what inspired this next one.


Van Gogh had his sunflowers, Monet favored water lilies, Matthew likes bluebonnets. He has a whole collection of bluebonnet art on all different kinds of paper and varying styles. This one needs to be mailed to Grandma and Grandpa as you can see. Why bluebonnets? I'm guessing it must be the Texas indoctrination education system. It's the state flower naturally, and Matthew knows all about it. He is slowly imprinting on Texas. One nice side effect is his use of "sir" and "ma'am." Melissa has picked up on it as well, but she just uses "sir." Think of Marcie in comic strip Peanuts.

And finally the artist himself:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It's official

Isaac is crawling now. It's actually more of a forward scoot. But he can get where he wants to go, and fairly quickly too.

Time to baby-proof in earnest.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Melissa came downstairs because she "forgot someting" as Rachel and I leaned back to watch Enchanted. This was nothing unusual; Rachel showed her where she had left her (new, pink with hearts) wallet and stuffed cat. Melissa headed back upstairs with her treasures slowly, with many glances back. I knew what was going through her head: "Princess movie."

So when she paused on the stairs I shouted up, "go to bed!" And it sounded like she did. But she must have crept back because when Rachel put Isaac in the swing she saw Melissa again. "Go to bed!" Again bedward motion ensued.

When the movie ended at 11, I heard rustling on the stairs again. Little imp! "Melissa," I said, "come here, and I'll give you a ride to bed." Daddy is a softie. (Melissa talked to my mom on the phone earlier today. "Dranma says I am her sunshine!" she reported. She was very pleased.)

"Der was one dragon," she told me, "a talking dragon. A liddle bit scary." Was it a good princess movie? "Yes!" Enchanted was actually the last movie we saw in theaters as a family. I missed a lot, including the ending, because Melissa kept getting bored. What a difference a year makes when you are three.

This morning I walked Matthew to school. Everyone else is still sleeping. If Melissa gets up before Isaac, I have turned on Enchanted to keep her from barging her mom's room and waking up her brother. There is a banana on the coffee table in case she needs a snack.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Close to home

I had some extra time this morning -- Isaac was sleeping and we didn't have to get Melissa or Rachel ready for church -- and I was leafing through a Calvin & Hobbes book. For a guy with no kids himself, Watterson sure nails six year old boys. Of course some things are mixed in from older ages, but the resemblance is eerie. I read them out loud, substituting "Matthew" for "Calvin," and Rachel and I laughed hysterically. (Matthew didn't approve, of course. He does not think he is funny, at all.)

Like Calvin, Matthew is prone to exaggeration. "Never" and "anything" are very popular with him. So is "always."

Rachel and I refer to this one whenever the kids are "tired sick" (as opposed to "moaning and yelling sick"). Like Melissa today.

And when Matthew gets a shot, it goes remarkably like this. Only with less aggression and more tears.

Trial by puke

Rachel is a huge fan of "Totally Toddler" cleaning solution, but I haven't been able to find any in Texas (or online). So I got some "Kids n Pets" at Wal-mart to see if that could fill in.

It did fine on the dirt that someone tracked in yesterday morning. Rachel claims that the stride was larger than a kid's, and she had nothing to do with it. I'm not sure what she's hinting at there. But I asked if this meant Kids n Pets was the real deal, and she said we won't know until we've tested it on blood and vomit and poop and all the other things kids do.

We're moving faster than I anticipated to mark off that list. At 1:00 AM Melissa puked violently all over herself and the carpet. Kids n Pets acquitted itself well. She didn't make it to the bathroom but at least she got out of her bed. Daddy does not like making beds at 1:00.

Melissa claimed to be all better when she got up at 9, but we kept her home from church anyway. (Duh.) She was not pleased about this, but didn't make much of a fuss. If you know Melissa you know that this is unusual for her. But the real proof came later.

Rachel: "It's time for some rest. Let's go to bed now."
Melissa: "Okay."

Okay? Okay?


Sunday, March 08, 2009

A historic moment

A historic moment
Originally uploaded by jbellis
Isaac getting into things he shouldn't:

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Isaac's nebulizer

Isaac's nebulizer
Originally uploaded by jbellis
It helps his bronchitis a lot, but Isaac does Not Approve.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Beautiful Washington

As an Army brat, I grew up all over the country and have called many places home. I have to say that western Washington is the most beautiful place I have ever lived.

Here are some pictures just in my parents' yard and pasture from our latest trip.

Even in the dead of winter, it is still quite green. Moss grows on EVERYTHING that is stationary. The house roof has to be de-mossed each spring. In the spring, summer, and fall Washington is a kaleidoscope of brilliant blooms and even more shades of green.

Here's a picture of the barn. My Dad grew up on a farm and is true to the saying, "You can take the boy off the farm, but you can't take the farm out of the boy." Since he already has a career and is in the Reserves, he's more of a part-time gentleman farmer. He raises a few cows 'cause he likes cows. Our first cows were named Midnight and Moonshine. Midnight, as her name suggests, was a pitch black calf. She was quite willful liked to escape. Before the housing development went up next to my parents' property it was a wild jumble of pasture and massive blackberry vines. Midnight ran over and hid in the brambles. We had to lure her out with her mama, but even then she was extremely tricky to catch. We spent hours chasing down that dumb cow!

In addition to cows, some years my Dad would grow a great big vegetable garden. I remember planting row after row of corn the day of a high school dance. I was barefoot and stamping the dirt down to cover the kernels. I'd remembered to put sunblock everywhere, so I thought. However, that evening I noticed that I'd managed to sunburn the tops of my feet! Then when it was time to harvest the corn, the six of us spent the entire day blanching, cutting the kernels from the cob, and bagging the corn in freezer bags. Several large kettles boiled the water for blanching and we had two new trash cans filled with icy water for chilling the corn afterward. It was quite the production. We had plenty of corn that winter.

Right now my Dad's "herd" consists of just a mama cow and her twin calves, a little bull and a heifer. They were born a few weeks after Isaac was. My father is quite proud of the twins. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if he keeps a picture of them in his wallet, right next to the grandkids.

Right outside the front porch is a boulder wall which wraps around half of the house. Currently it's just moss and ferns, but in the spring it is simply gorgeous. I'm guessing that there are about 10 different massive rhododendrons, several lilacs, and other blooming shrubs.

And another view from a different part of the wall.

There's a duck pond too, but I only saw a few canadian geese roaming around. Mom was dismayed when she learned that I'd taken some pictures. "But it's so ugly right now! Everything is brown and dead!" I think she would have difficulty adjusting to more arid climes. Even in the winter I find Washington gorgeous.

Almost crawling

Almost crawling
Originally uploaded by jbellis
Isaac likes to rock up on his knees a lot now, but he's not quite sure what to do from there.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

How not to do it

Rachel received this email. I believe the sender has a college degree.

Wedding Pictures

Pictures as promised:

Aren't they a gorgeous couple?

Melissa generously shared her tic tacs with everyone. Good thing too, because there was some smooching going on! Imagine that!

I just love this shot I took of Andrea when she was leaning over to chat with Melissa. What a beautiful bride!

Here's a shot of Mom holding up the train. The dress was a BEAST to bustle. There were six hidden loops to attached to 6 hidden buttons. Mom and I helped dress Andrea. I accidentally pulled one of the loops a little too hard and we had to do some quick stitching on the loop. Thank goodness the dress was fine, just the ribboned loop broke. I'm glad I was able to "help" with the dressing, even though I was more hindrance than help. It was so neat to be there for my sister.

Matthew played the part of photographer as well. He was quite insistent on poses. The older kids humored him though.

Melissa had fun climbing on the statues. The day couldn't have been better for pictures. It was just a bit overcast so no one was squinting, no wind, and the rain didn't start until that evening. Then it rained for the rest of our stay in Washington. Naturally.
Andrea had "something old and something new, something borrowed and something blue," of course. She wore our great-grandma Hume's crocheted shawl for old. I think the shoes counted as new? The something blue was the beautiful aquamarine (her birthstone) promise ring that Jeremy gave her until he could get the engagement ring. For borrowed she used my wedding veil! I'm quite pleased about that. I designed that veil myself and am so glad that it was used once again. Unlike many veils, it's one continuous oval piece with a simple lace trim. Unfortunately I don't have a very good picture of it, but here's another great one of Andrea.

Speaking of traditions I taped a penny to her shoe for good luck and fortune. Silly me. Still, may they be happy and prosperous!

With that I think I'll end our 1,000 SP post. Can't think of a better post for that milestone.