Monday, December 29, 2014

I don't understand kids

There is a huge playground behind him, but Isaac is playing by the garbage cans, picking up acorns.

(Photos taken 2014-12-29.)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Tired Bubbles

(Photos taken 2014-12-28.)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Getting some Christmas Terraria in on their new tablets

(Photos taken 2014-12-25.)

Had to explain to Matthew why this shirt is a thing

(Photos taken 2014-12-14.)

Tired Tommy

Tommy skipped his morning nap on Sunday. He finally fell asleep in time to wake up for the drive home.

(Photos taken 2014-12-21.)

Tommy does the dishes

(Photos taken 2014-12-18.)

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Black Keys

I have a poor track record with Rachel and rock concerts. One rained out, another she got sick, and a third was delayed until we gave up and went home.

Friday tried to keep the streak alive, with our baby sitter cancelling at the last minute. Christine and Telitha (in town for a few days) were already planning on ju jitsu with David. I called around and found the Sorensen boys, teenagers who have sat our kids before and make a good team.

Parking is dicey at UT at the best of times, and with key roads closed for construction on the medical center, we decided to take a cab via Uber instead. It dropped us off a block away where the traffic started to get heavy, and we arrived in plenty of time.

Rachel and I agreed that the opener was forgettable, but we both enjoyed the Black Keys a great deal. I think Rachel got as much of a kick from me singing along as from the actual show, but I'll take it.

Photo via someone else with a much better camera.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Tommy at the park

(Photos taken 2014-12-21.)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tommy helps with the dishes

(Photos taken 2014-12-18.)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas stories with Mommy

(Photos taken 2014-12-12.)

Matthew's room

He used to blame Isaac for the mess when they shared a room, but Isaac's room is clean now.

(Photos taken 2014-12-12.)

Sunday, December 07, 2014

That time I forgot my passport

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I was scheduled to speak at Cassandra Europe on Thursday morning.  I didn't want to leave Rachel alone with the kids longer than necessary, so I picked a flight leaving Tuesday evening and arriving Wednesday at 6 AM Texas time / noon GMT.  (This is the best case for getting some sleep on the flight over.)

I could have booked a direct British Airways flight from a consolidator for $1600, but our corporate travel department shot that down.  ("What if you need to change your flight?")  So I ended up connecting through Houston for $600 more.

I carpooled to the airport with Brian, who was heading back to Washington within half an hour of my flight.  We had dinner, then split up to board.  Halfway through the brief flight to Houston I realized that I hadn't packed my passport.

It's difficult to exaggerate the feeling of impending doom where you know you're screwed but are absolutely powerless to do anything about it.

When we landed, I went to the gate and explained what happened.  I was lucky enough to speak with some kind of shift supervisor, because she sent me over to United customer service with instructions to call her.  When they did, there was an exchange about "carryback/carryover" and they booked me a flight back to Austin and a new flight to London at no charge.  Needless to say, I've never had United or any airline fail to charge me money at every opportunity.  That took a little of the sting out of it.

I was scheduled now to fly through Houston at 3:30 Wednesday and arrive in London at 7.  With my talk scheduled to start at 8:45, and the trip from the airport to the conference 45 minutes without traffic, that didn't leave much wiggle room for delayed flights, getting through customs, etc.

So I walked back to customer service again and asked if there were any earlier flights that connected elsewhere.   Ultimately we found one that got me there at 6 through Chicago.  After some more phone calls that sounded like they were about to decided that they couldn't do it because of some rule or another, they got everything lined up.

I finished my presentation on the flight Wednesday.  I'll quote Billy on what happened at the conference:
... our thoughts turn to the diva world where Mr. Ellis solidified his rockstar image by sliding into the building (and the country) a solid hour before his keynote presentation. It seems he believed that being a founder of DataStax meant that he could travel without his passport. His star power carried him through the Austin airport security, where his name is legendary, but not so in Houston.

In the future, Mr. Ellis demanded requested an entourage that will manage such trivial details as carrying his passport. We will oblige so long as he continues to rock the keynotes like a boss, as he did this time around. After the keynote, we then threw him immediately into meetings that went from 10am - 5pm with a whopping 10 minute break for lunch (though rumor has it that one meeting was canceled, which bought him a 20 minute nap under the table). He performed fantastically in the meetings, but that's what rockstars do: when the lights come on, they do their thing.
After the power nap, I got my second wind long enough to go out to dinner with the team.  Then I slept for eight hours, then another three after breakfast.  Then my sleep schedule was so screwed up that I only slept about another hour before my Saturday morning flight back.  Which ended up working out okay, because I slept on the plane and ended up more or less ready for the Texas time zone when I landed just in time to take three of the kids to the ward Christmas party.

Only three, because Isaac took the opportunity to come down with the flu in my absence, and Tommy stayed home with his mom.  One of these years I'll make it through a flight without someone getting sick or injured while I'm gone.  Poor Rachel!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Retro night with super smash brothers

(Photos taken 2014-11-27.)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tooth fairy fail

(Photos taken 2014-11-20.)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

When one laptop is not enough

(Photos taken 2014-11-16.)

Tommy at the hair salon

(Photos taken 2014-11-15.)

Chilling with Uncle David

Sent from my Sony Xperia™ smartphone

(Photos taken 2014-11-15.)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Got up at 5, played until he fell asleep an hour later

(Photos taken 2014-11-13.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Double-wide Foosball at the Cassandra Summit

(Photos taken 2014-09-10.)

Corinna wearing Grandma's dress

(Photos taken 2014-09-02.)

Isaac at the park

(Photos taken 2014-09-01.)

Deep fried oreos

(Photos taken 2014-09-09.)

Bacon popcorn

Worth trying. Once.

(Photos taken 2014-10-12.)

David inventing new exercises

(Photos taken 2014-10-13.)

Corinna dresses herself

(Photos taken 2014-10-13.)

Fancy S'more at the Hightower

The bowl was filled with smoke.

(Photos taken 2014-11-05.)

Zombiecide with the Banks

(Photos taken 2014-10-18.)

Little David, big David

(Photos taken 2014-10-29.)

Christine's car, stage 3

(Photos taken 2014-10-27.)

Tommy barely fits on Mommy's lap now

(Photos taken 2014-11-08.)

Tommy is our first kid to sit with his feet in front of him

(Photos taken 2014-11-05.)

Preparing for a Halo Master Chief collection marathon with Brian

(Photos taken 2014-11-12.)

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Emails from Rachel

Context: Tommy went to sleep early last night.  Then he woke up shortly before midnight and wanted to play.  Rachel put him in his crib, but he didn't sound sleepy.  Rather than wait it out like the night before, I went to sleep on the couch and put earplugs in.

(Lest I sound like a terrible husband, I would like the record to show that I first volunteered to stay up and play with Tommy while Rachel went to bed, but this plan was turned down.)

Spoiler alert: the brisket turned out great.

Email 1: What a night (2:07 AM)

It is now 2 am. You are sleeping like a baby. Our baby isn't and hasn't been sleeping. Tried all the tricks I know and finally gave up and left the room. He's wailing. I don't have the energy to watch him play on the floor nor do I want to set a middle of the night precedent. Checked the smoker and then discovered that you'd locked the door back. Fan-freaking-tastic.

I pounded on the back door and then the front door (rang the door bell too!) for a while, but you blissfully slept. Wish I had that super power. Remembered that the garage door opener was in the car and got back inside. It was cold.

The baby is still crying and I want to too.

See you in the morning.

Email 2: Finally got the little man to sleep (2:56 AM)

He nursed in my arms for 40 min. Then checked the brisket. Unwrapped it and accidentally spilled the juices onto the fire putting it mostly out. Now I'm restarting the fire. Smells amazing, don't want to spoil it.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Melissa at Young Eagles

(Photos taken 2014-11-08.)

Matthew at Young Eagles

(Photos taken 2014-11-08.)

Monday, November 03, 2014

Daylight savings

Yesterday we finally went off daylight savings.  (After a month of kids walking to the bus stop in the dark.  Thanks, Congress!)  For the first time ever, I didn't bother setting the clocks on the wall and the oven and the microwave.  Our phones and computers updated themselves so no hurry, right?

This morning, Tommy woke up a few minutes before six.  He was poopy and peed through his diaper.  While I was wrestling a new onesie on him and Rachel was fastening the new diaper around his butt, we heard the front door open and close.  I ran upstairs and Melissa's bed was empty.  She must have woken up, saw the time on the wall, and figured she was about to miss her bus.

I got dressed and picked her up from the bus stop.  She was glad to hear she had time to eat breakfast and brush her hair after all.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tommy helps himself to banana

He was supposed to wait for Mom to feed it to him. He had other plans.

(Photos taken 2014-10-29.)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Melissa and the hedgehog

(Photos taken 2014-10-25.)

At the neighborhood spook-tacular

By far the most popular attraction is the inflatable obstacle course. They line up two at a time to race. Isaac and Corinna are both huge fans.

(Photos taken 2014-10-25.)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Christine's car, stage 2

First coat of paint on the door, new tail light, experimenting with Bondo on the dents.

(Photos taken 2014-10-19.)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

August peanuts

  • Rachel, six hours ago [August 1]: "Matthew, do you have your silverware?" [for his campout] Matthew: [exasperated sigh] "Yes, Mom. I packed it." Just now: Rachel finds Matthew's silverware on the counter. He is going to be so pissed in the morning. And he will come home and blame his Mom.
  • Rachel: "Matthew, Tommy's bored. Give him a water bottle to play with." A few minutes later: "Why is Tommy soaked?" Matthew: "I guess the water bottle wasn't closed all the way."
  • David the motivational speaker: "When you first started working out, your back was buttery smooth. I can almost see muscles in places now."
  • David kicked my butt so hard today [August 5] that sitting at a desk seems like too much effort. Working from bed instead.
  • Isaac, on the way home from camp: "I NEED TO PEE!" Rachel: "Can you wait five minutes until we're home? "No! I need to pee now!" "Okay, I'm going to pull over at the Wells Fargo up ahead. You can use their bathroom." "I can only wait ten seconds! 10! 9! 8! 7! 6! 5! 4! 3! 2! 1!" A puddle starts to spread. "You made me pee my pants!"
  • David: "It's not too late to take a 'before' picture. Take off your shirt, stick out your gut, and look sad."
  • Rachel: "Matthew, you stink. You need to shower as soon as we get home." Matthew: "Can't it wait until tomorrow?" "No. Then you'd get your sheets dirty." "Ohhhhh... so THAT's why my sheets smell funny!"
  • Me: "Today our workout included jumping. With 150 pounds on our shoulder." Rachel: "Those must have been tiny jumps." "Yes."
  • Rachel thinks it's hysterical that after I bought chips and junk food for Isaac's birthday party, HEB printed me out a coupon for $3 off produce on my next trip.
  • Me: "This is confusing. We have two Nicoles in Sales at DataStax." Rachel: "Fire one."
  • Me, getting ready for the fourth set of inverted rows: "Oof." David: "Do a bridge if you need to catch your breath." Me: "Sitting here sucking wind is working pretty well for me." David: "That kind of thinking is what got you into your present shape."
  • Matthew got up well before 7 today. This was a bad idea. Here are some of the things that made him grumpy: Minecraft was laggy. The garden had weeds in it. Melissa had the computer when he wanted it. Mom told him to apologize for being rude to Melissa. Isaac existed. The barbecue only smelled average. Doing the dishes. Going to bed instead of doing the dishes.
  • Isaac on full-day kindergarten: "It was too long! Tomorrow you can pick me up earlier."
  • Me: "This body wasn't built for sprinting." David: "Well, it sure wasn't built for distance. So where does that leave you?"

Christine's car, stage 1

(Photos taken 2014-10-13.)

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.  (He also "did a lot of squats in the trunk" to push out the rear as much as possible.)

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.

Next step: making a 3-d model of the right side of the car, to guide the Bondo work on the left.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Walking Tommy

(Photos taken 2014-10-14.)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Corinna dresses herself

(Photos taken 2014-10-13.)