Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A day in the life of an Isaac

Isaac had a busy morning yesterday: unrolled one roll of toilet paper, emptied part the CD drawer (he was thwarted before he finished), took all of the wipes out of package one by one, dumped the toy basket, and scattered blocks from one end of the house to the other.

After a brief nap, he was back on the job. Rachel was washing dishes with the little tornado at her feet happily playing in a mostly empty cupboard from which all dangerous things had been removed months ago. Splash! He found the 1 gallon jug of vinegar with the "tight" lid. 1/2 gallon of vinegar on the floor and one bath for Isaac.

Clean again, he emptied the recyling bin and the bottom shelf of a bookcase.

[From Rachel's facebook updates]

Monday, July 27, 2009

Melissa's letter to Uncle Brian

Dear Uncle Brian
We go to caves! We go to slide! (McDonald's playplace). Pokypines (porcupines) eat grass! Thank you for the candy! Bears eat you, right? Bears like to eat honey, and not bees. Franko is my friend. What else is my friend?


Letter to Uncle Brian

Dear Uncle Brian,

Hi! I broke my elbow a while ago. I got this cool cast: it's waterproof! We went to a cave. It was really interesting. There was a lot of pretty rocks and formations there. I hope it's going well over there!

It is hot in San Antonio. I made a few friends. They are nice.

Thank you for the box of Brazil money and the candy and the Corvette.

It is going well over here.

I hope you do a good job!

We got a few new games for the Wii. They're called "Spy Fox" and "Pajama Sam" and "Freddie Fish." They are fun. But I don't play "Pajama Sam" much anymore because it's too easy now.



Sunday, July 26, 2009

San Jose from the top floor of the Hilton

Originally uploaded by jbellis
I went to the speakers' party after Thursday's OSCON talks and took this picture from the window. Not bad for a cameraphone.

(Sourceforge had a party at the same time; I found out later that Sourceforge gave attendees remote controlled cars, and Google was handing out free phones to attract developers. At my party I got... a coke. Doh!)

Korean barbeque

While I was in San Jose for OSCON I had dinner with Oscar, an old friend from my days teaching at Northface (now Neumont). We had Korean Barbeque, and I had two surprises: the price ($30 each) and the service -- they had a buffet of meats to choose from, which you then cooked yourself. There were no signs, so I have no idea what I ate other than what animal it came from.

Tasty, though. And so far I don't seem to have come down with samonella or trichinosis.



Sunday, July 19, 2009

Mmm, marshmallow

Originally uploaded by jbellis
I heard happy Isaac noises, so I went to investigate: Melissa had left the pantry door open, and he was enjoying playing with the boxes of food. No harm done, I figured, and left him be.

A couple minutes later, Rachel got suspicious, and found that he'd opened a cup of marshmallow creme. He was a _very_ happy Isaac. Not so much in this picture: he's upset that Mommy spoiled his fun.

But he wasn't upset long, since Rachel gave him a bath next. His second of the day.

Isaac forgave Mommy, but I think Mommy is still a little annoyed with Daddy.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I think I've created an interior decorator

Melissa came downstairs with a clear thumbtack. "Look, Daddy! I found a piercing earing in my wall up high!" (Which makes me wonder how she reached it. I probably don't want to know.)

"That's a thumbtack, Melissa. You use it to stick things into walls."

"Like... papers? I can stick papers to my wall?"

"Well, yes, I suppose you could."

"I can keep it!?"

"Okay, as long as you don't leave it where Isaac can reach it."

I hope I don't regret this.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Random pictures from the last week

Daddy introduced Isaac to chocolate pudding.  Isaac approved wholeheartedly.  Mommy did not entirely approve...but they were both having such a good time that I let it be.  Then when Isaac got both hands, his shirt, his face, and his Daddy sticky I took the bowl, but let the Daddy clean the Pumpkin.

Bathtime in the sink.  Can't remember why exactly we put him in the sink- I think it was supposed to be a quick wash, but Isaac was enjoying the novelty so much that we let him play in the sink for a while.
Like father like daughter:

Matthew's Cast

Matthew got his new cast on Thursday. "Mom, it's not my new cast, it's my first cast." Oh, I stand corrected. Wait a second...first cast? Just how many is he planning!?

As we left the orthopedics office (with way cool x-rays in hand), Matthew caught a glimpse of himself in the window. He walked back to admire his reflection. "My cast looks awesome!" Yes he's hot stuff.

When I got the camera to take a picture of him he insisted on taking off his shirt so that his cast could be seen more clearly. Melissa naturally wants to do whatever Matthew does, so she took off her shirt too to be in the picture.

Cast technology has sure improved since I was a kid. They now have waterproof casts. That's right waterproof. He can get in the tub and go to the pool without worrying about keeping it dry. Lucky kid.

From the mouth of a 6 year old

I served ravioli for dinner the other night.

Matthew matter-of-factly stated, "I like ravioli, but my stomach doesn't really appreciate it."

Oookaay then.

M & M Visit the Toilet Seat Museum

San Antonio boasts of the world's largest, and possibly only, toilet seat museum. Never one to turn down a unique opportunity, I decided to check it out!

Mr. Smith is a retired plumber and is 88 years old. He's also a real sweetheart of a guy and and thoroughly delighted in showing the kids around. He combined his profession with his love of art, and for the last 30 years has designed and created 885 truly unique works. Barney Smith has been featured on national television 3 times (The View, and a few others) as well as locally a number of times.

The museum itself is a slice of Americana. He has seats with Disney characters, buttons, antlers, games, puzzles, locks, keys, cell phones, computer components, a working piano key, religious verses, many states (maybe all 50 I'm not sure), visitor inspired seats (He made one just for us! It has a CTR emblem on it.), and significant historical events. The ones with historical significance include piece of the Challenger space shuttle with tribute to the astronauts who perished, a bit of the Berlin Wall, barbed wire from Auschwitz, a piece of Saddam Hussein's toilet (I didn't hear the back story as to how he got that, but I bet it's interesting), buttons from elections, politicians, military branches, and more. Truly a lot to see! Unprompted, Matthew informed Mr. Smith, "I really like your museum! I really do!" The kids were free to touch most of the seats and had fun pointing out all of their finds.

Here is Mr. Smith showing the children his favorite seat. It's based on Kipling's poem "When the Earth's last picture is painted," which he recited from memory.

And a closeup view:

It's a different museum alright. The kids had a good time though. So good in fact, that Melissa threw a fit when it was time to leave. "I don't wanna go! NO!" She dug in her little heels. That was a little embarrassing

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Never Consult a 4 Year Old on Dinner

Musing aloud I wondered what to make for dinner.

I know! (Melissa cheerfully chirps)

Marshmallow sandwiches!

French Fries!



That's a good dinner!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


  • Power Grid on BSW is a harsh mistress. Three games out of four, someone has mis-clicked on their first turn and not bought any resources.
  • Melissa, discussing breakfast: "Mom, Dad lets us have pudding!" Fortunately Rachel is used to my little improvisations and let it slide. This time.
  • A lot of my favorite shirts are old and fading and/or peeling. Adieu, nethack shirt, bittorrent shirt, "you are likely to be eaten by a grue" shirt. Silver lining: room for new shirts.
  • Home fireworks are banned in San Antonio (!), but we caught an excellent show at one of the air force bases. Stadium of Fire quality, with traffic to match. We parked a mile outside the park proper and still took 20 minutes to fight our way to the highway.
  • Things I do that bug my wife: "Call Melissa to the table," she will tell me. "Melissa, come to the table!" I holler. This is not what she wanted: "If I wanted to yell for her, I could have done that myself." My father did this to my mom, too.
  • Matthew: "Franco says I'm not his friend anymore." Rachel: "Then play with your sister. She's your friend." Matthew: "Not if she likes Franco!"
  • Matthew lost his fifth tooth. He said, "Oh! I think this one's ready to come out now," put his hand in his mouth, twisted, and pulled out a tooth. Rachel and I didn't even know it was loose. Way less drama than his first tooth. We heard about that one for weeks before it finally came out.
  • Minivan wouldn't start. Jumped it and took it to a mechanic to have the alternator / battery checked. "Everything looks fine; probably one of your kids left a light on." Oops.
  • A friend gave Melissa a pink BYU shirt. She loves it: it's pink, it has a cute cat on it, and she can read it All By Herself. The other day she came down the stairs to breakfast wearing her shirt and chanting, "B Y U! Nonnynona chu! B Y U! Nonnynona chu!" I thought maybe I wasn't hearing things right, but she was just making up her own cheer.

Monday, July 13, 2009

He Broke It

Took Matthew to a clinic to get his arm looked at again. The original radiologist report didn't find a fracture, but a week post injury he was still in quite a bit of pain if he moved his arm, and it was still a bit swollen and warm to the touch. I heard from a radiologist friend that elbow fractures can take up to a week to show up on x-ray. We kept it in the splint except for bath times and he did fine as long as it wasn't moved much. In the splint he has no problem.

The doc sent us to a radiologist office where they x-rayed it again. This was on Friday. Heard back today that he had a fracture in the growth plate in his elbow. I thought something was up!

This hasn't slowed him down much, however. "Can I climb the tree, Mom? How about just half-way up? Pleeease? How 'bout I climb up the shelves and get that for you?" I have to remind him to slow down as he tears through the house chasing his sister and friends.

The last thing he needs is a matching set of bummed up elbows.

Don't Push the Carrot Button

Melissa is highly skilled in needling her older brother. The other night she taunted, "You are a carrot! You are a carrot!" Matthew bristled at the terribly offensive insult. Jonathan explained (for the 1,000th time) that she was only doing it to get a reaction and if Matthew just ignored her she wouldn't do it. Then he tried in 6 year old terms. "She's just pushing the 'carrot' button. When she pushes it, you yell. Don't yell or get mad and the carrot button doesn't work." Light bulb time.

Now the kids like to refer to teasing as "pushing the carrot button." They still enjoy harassing each other though.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Daddy's Boy

With Isaac perched on my lap and I repeated, "Mama, Mama, Mama!" He flashed a toothy grin and replied, "Da da da da!"

An interesting night

Just after dinner I heard a loud whomp followed by ear piercing shrieks. Not a good sign. Found Matthew curled in a ball hysterical and holding his arm. It was swelling but nothing obviously out of place. So we iced it and I gave him some motrin. It only helped nominally and he continued to cry frantically off and on. I asked him to move it and he could move his arm in some positions, but when he tried to straighten it, he could only get it part way there before getting extremely agitated and refusing to move it further. The swelling was getting worse right at the elbow, so after a call to my Dad (thanks Dad!) I decided to take him in to get it looked at.

Of course, Jonathan is out of town right now. He missed all of the fun! So I made some calls and found a neighbor who could watch Melissa while Matthew, Isaac, and I took off for the ER. We got there to a fairly crowded waiting room and we waited. Matthew was quite grumpy about this. Being up way past his bedtime and in pain wasn't helping matters. I explained to him that really sick people and people having trouble breathing have to go first. That helped his mood some. The motrin kicked in and as long as he held his arm perfectly still with the ice pack, he did better.

As he started to feel just a bit better, he had questions about everything. "Why does the automatic door have a red light that blinks on and off? What is that the nurse is pushing? How come a police officer is here? Why do the TVs only have boring grownup shows? How come this? What is that? Why that?" His most pressing question was, "Will they make me straighten my arm out?" When I said I didn't know, he started crying for the first time in the waiting room. "I can't do it! It hurts too much!" I assured him that the nurses and doctors would do everything they could to help him get better and would be very gentle. He wasn't much reassured.

Isaac meanwhile was doing his very best to escape my arms so he could crawl around. No way was I going to let him get on the dirty floor. After about an hour of Isaac wrangling, he fell asleep (briefly).

When it was our turn, Matthew got a very nice nurse. She brought him some popsicles and a new ice pack (the one from home was no longer cold). Matthew reveled in the experience of eating popsicles at midnight! His first quavering question was whether he would have to straighten his arm, the nurse assured him that they would work with him so he wouldn't have to move it much. He felt better after that.

He had some pretty impressive swelling, so they x-rayed his arm. No obvious breaks (which surprised the PA), but there was one area the PA wanted the radiologist to review. She explained that either it was a particulary nasty sprain at the elbow, or possibly a hairline fracture which can be hard to pick up, especially on an elbow. While waiting, the cute little boy in the room beside us made a glove balloon which he gave to Matthew. Matthew was very pleased. I made a quick run to the restroom, and a kind nurse offered to hold Isaac for me. He howled the entire 2 minutes I was gone. Bless that nurses heart, I thanked her, and she said no problem. She said her kids were just like that, very attached to mama. The other nurses teased her and said she must have pinched him. Isaac, meanwhile, effortlessly charmed the nurses (as long as he was in my arms). We had several nurses just pop their heads in the room to chat with Matthew and coo over Isaac. My boys are cute fellows.

Matthew's nurse came back and explained to him that they would have to measure his arm to make a splint for him. He got concerned again that he might have to move his arm, but she reassured him that she could measure his good arm so he wouldn't have to move the other one. All bandaged up and in a sling, we were ready to go. Matthew got a little coloring book which he read, a reuseable ice pack, and the nurse gave him a children's gown for bedtime "so he get in and out easily and be comfortable." Very nice.

We got back a little before 2. I carried Melissa and Isaac up the stairs. That's 60+ pounds of dead weight. Tucked everyone in and crawled into bed myself.

An interesting night.