Friday, December 19, 2008

I've Sold My Soul to Twitter

So, in a moment of narcissistic boredom, I decided to jump on the Twitter bandwagon; yesterday, I decided to set up an account for the family, as a way to post to this blog more often.

If you're not familiar with it, Twitter is a micro-blogging utility - posts have a 140 character limit. It occupies a space somewhere between text messaging all your friends at once and writing an actual blog. It's actually pretty cool, and has the potential to be really useful. Or at least sort of useful.

For Lorna and I, it will be a way to keep those of you who read this blog to keep up with us (and by "us" I mean Elanor and Jack) more apprised of what's going on with the kids - to inform you of small incidents that might not get relayed otherwise.

So, over in the left column, you'll see a new widget, titled "Tweets" (which is the stupid Twitter-speak for posts). Most of it won't really be exciting, but let's face it - most of what gets posted on this blog isn't exactly exciting anyway.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

All I Want for Christmas...

All Bundled Up

Lorna and Jack, geared up for the ride home from church.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More YouTube Madness

Another video my mom made of Jack and uploaded to YouTube, featuring (toward the end) his patented "crawl-walk," or "crawlk":

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Things That Came Out of the Camera

We recently took a quick (left early Friday afternoon, back early Saturday evening) trip to OKC to visit family and have some (long overdue) dental work done by my uncle, who's a dentist.
I took this picture on our way out of town - it was very windy, which I guess is why the clouds were like this...
This is my hair after taking the pictures (I stuck my head out the sunroof (while driving)):
(That's a lie. Lorna was driving.)
These are my wonderful children, who slept almost the entire way home Saturday:


This is Ella looking sassy in the outfit Jeff & Celia sent her for her birthday (we love the shirt, guys):
This is Jack, already acting innocent behind the wheel of a car:
And here he is practicing for his career as a drunken jazz pianist ("I just need another scotch, then I'll be able to stay on the bench..."):

And this is a totally random sign that one of my neighbors had in his yard back in June or July. That same dog has pooped in my yard many a time as well. (When it was first up, it had a bag of the dog's poop hanging from it - a classy touch.)

Jack and the Stacking Bucket

A few shots of Jack playing with the stacking buckets his Uncle Jeff & Aunt Celia sent him for his birthday:



Snapshots from Ella's Sixth Birthday Party

Ella got cool stuff for her birthday....

...lots and lots of stuff.

Attacking the old guy with foam swords was so much fun, not even birthday cake slowed them down.

But we did manage to corral them for a few minutes, in the end.

Later, I took the kids (by threes) for rides in the cargo trike, which turned out to be even more fun than the sword-fighting - at least for the kids. It was all work for me.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Jack; Jack-o-Lantern; Dorothy & Toto

Our Jack-o-Lantern for this year. Scary, if I may say so myself. And tasty - he had one night of glowing, and then Lorna made him into soup.

Jack, looking contemplative. Don't let it fool you - he's about to do something stupid.

Ella and Rosie, a bit blurry. Probably because they're never still.

Jack at breakfast. Too early for pictures, maybe.

I have no idea what this face is. He looks like an old man. Scary.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More Pictures, Less Text

First test run of the crazy cargo bike.


Ella at her drama class performance - she's the queen ant.


Ella took this one herself.


This is the pillow she made with Nana.


Jack holding the forbidden remote, looking innocent.


Ella and her friend Lola, playing dress-up.


No comment.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Faceplant

Today, I did something I haven't done in over a decade: I crashed my bike.

In the almost four years that I've been commuting by bike, I've managed to stay upright (not counting the two incidents when I fell over because I didn't unclip fast enough) and not get hit by a car. But today, my "days without an accident" counter has been reset to zero.

The first thing I shouldn't have done was try to bring the dictionary home, but I did: a fifteen-pound Webster's New International that we'd withdrawn from the library, and that I intend to tear up to make Dadaist collages. So I put the thing in a milk crate on the rack on the back of my bike, which was held on with bungee cords - a tad precarious, to say the least. It actually fell off before I'd even gotten going, which should have been a hint, but as I rarely drive to work, I loaded it all back up and tried again.

To prevent it from falling off again, I was riding with my right hand on the milk crate, to help keep it on. For some reason, this made that hand off-limits. So when, shortly after pulling out of the parking lot onto Brockett, I wanted to shift to a smaller cog in the rear, which is done with the right-hand shifter, I let go with my left hand and reached across.

Stupid, I know. But, in my defense, I can ride with no hands quite well, and if my balance hadn't been compromised by the dictionary and the odd position of my right arm, I think I would've been fine.

As it was, however, my maneuver caused the front tire to wobble violently, which caused the bike to wobble, and before I could recover, the front tire hit the curb and I went flying, to land face-first on the grass. Which hurt.

Fortunately, no major damage was done - I'm unhurt, my glasses didn't break, and the only damage to the bike was a small tear in the seat. After catching my breath, I loaded everything back up, and made it home without further incident - making a conscious effort to use my right hand when necessary, and not let go with my left. And now, I need a drink.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

It Only Bled a Little...


So, Elanor lost a top incisor. Now she looks cute. Well, cuter. Or something.
If she loses the other one before Christmas, she can sing that song...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Well, It Probably Won't Kill Him...

I called Lorna a few minutes ago; she answered the phone with "I'll have to call you back; Jack's eating dog food" and hung up on me. That's my boy, I guess.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

She Shot the Sheriff, But Not the Deputy


The other night, my crazy wife decided to curl Elanor's hair without curlers. She took little sections of Ella's hair, twisted them, rolled them up into little knobblies, and put little hair-bands on them to hold them in place. Took close to three hours. Then Ella slept on it. This is what it looked like the next morning:

Everyone loved it - except Elanor. There was crying, wailing, gnashing of teeth - Ella even wore a hooded sweatshirt to church to keep it covered. At least we got a few pictures.
And I'm sorry about the bad joke in the title of the post - her hair was springy and weird, but not nearly so matted and crazy as dreadlocks, so referencing a reggae song doesn't quite work. However, there is sort of a reason:

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Big Pink Bicycle, Pt. 2



The big pink bicycle now holds all four of us. Lorna rides captain, I ride stoker, Ella rides between us, and Jack rides in the back. I'm not sure which kid will outgrow the arrangement first - Jack should be okay in the baby seat for another 18 months or two years, though we might have to get a bigger one. If Ella suddenly shoots up six inches, she'll probably be too tall to ride where she is now, but also too short to pedal. I'm hoping that doesn't happen at least until next summer, so we can get some good use out of it in this configuration before I have to start over.

I'm pleased with my faux-Euro kid seat - about $8 worth of metal plumbing bits, instead of $60 or $80 for something imported & fancy. The bungee cord is necessary to keep it from swinging - the front seat post is just a tiny bit smaller than the inside of the T joint, but a smaller one wouldn't have fit. Oh, well - I just want it to work, and it does. I'm not so concerned that it looks pretty.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Big Pink Bicycle, Pt. 1

My mom found this bike for me at an annual church garage sale a good friend of hers organizes: $35, a ridiculously good price. Aside from needing new tires & tubes, it was ready to ride when I got it.

The problem was that, while Lorna & I could ride together if we wanted, it would need some work to be practical for us as a family. Even with the stoker (rear) seat as low as it goes, Ella isn't nearly tall enough to pedal, though she could ride. I toyed with the idea of attaching Jack's baby seat to the captain seatpost and building a Big Dummy-style rack on the back, which Ella could ride on. Before I managed to (mentally) work out the bugs in that plan, I ran across some photos of Dutch cargo bikes (which blew me away), and this one in particular changed my thinking about the Big Pink Bicycle:

You can order these, from Europe, but with shipping they run upwards of $60. "But," I thought, "putting a seat like that between the captain and the stoker and putting Jack's seat on the back would allow all four of us to ride one bicycle, and Lorna and I would both be pedaling, so it wouldn't be that bad!" So I bought a few pieces of galvanized plumbing, used a spare saddle I already had, and rigged a seat for Ella.

There are still a few finishing touches - like a place to put cargo - but we've ridden it and aren't dead. I'll post pictures of the finished product (and maybe us riding it) soon.

No Pictures!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

More Bananas!

The photo's a bit blurry, because he doesn't sit still. One banana is
only a snack: he eats like a linebacker.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Long-Overdue Update

Well, things are a tad hectic around here, as they usually are. Jack has been mobile for a few months now, which means he's a lot more work to keep up with; on top of that, Elanor has taken Cain's "I am not my brother's keeper" line to heart, making her thoroughly unreliable when it comes to "keeping an eye" on her brother while Lorna or I attempts to get some small chore done.

Jack's primary method of locomotion is still the swim-crawl, though he's finally mastered the traditional hands-and-knees crawl and busts it out occasionally. His top two incisors have broken the surface, though they aren't really visible unless you look from the right angle, which puts you in danger of being drooled on. He drools a lot.

He also eats like a linebacker; just for dinner, he ate a banana and a half and about four ounces (fluid ounces) of homemade chicken-and-rice baby food. Then he munched on Rice Chex for a little while.

Elanor is learning to read; she has Lorna's old "Sing Spell Read & Write" set and is working through it. I'm sure she'll be reading Shakespeare before I know it. She's also got pretty good taste in movies; one of her favorites is the A&E production of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. What five-year-old likes that?

Lorna's still working part time at the funeral home; I've been working in the Technical Services office at the library at Austin College since July 1st. It's fun, at least for now, and ridiculously better than Starbucks. Regular hours and, comparatively speaking, no stress and (almost) no stupid workplace drama.

Life is good, even when (as on this evening) the kids are screaming in concert and doing their damnedest to stay awake.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

And Your Little Dog, Too

I was riding home from work this evening (well, almost midnight) when a little yappie dog - the kind that's just about the size of a football - came shooting out of some driveway, growling its little yappie growl and running full tilt after me.

Now, I don't normally mind being chased by dogs while I'm riding my bike. I suppose a dog that was as big as I am, and which looked mean, or hungry, or rabid, might be a cause for some concern. Ditto a pack of feral dogs. But mostly, they just annoy me. And I was in no mood to be annoyed, nor to have some idiot dog follow me nearly a mile to my house because it was too stupid to stay close to home.

So I stopped as fast as I could, turned to face it, and growled back. The dog stopped, whimpered a confused, yappie whimper, and backed up a few paces. Then I turned the bike around and chased it back to its own driveway, and turned a few slow circles in the street, all the while giving it my best "don't make me take my belt off and beat you with it" stare. Then I resumed my ride.

You may think I was mean to that dog, but really, I was doing it a favor. A dog that small ought to know better than to chase after something so much bigger than itself as I am, especially when the bigger animal was completely unaware of and indifferent to it. I taught that dog a valuable lesson; I gave it a "get out of jail free" card in the game of Natural Selection. Maybe now it won't get eaten by a bear.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Unstoppable!

The day I dreaded has arrived - Jack's got a tooth! Okay, so he's had it for two weeks now; it popped through on the 17th. It's his bottom right incisor, and Lorna and I think the left is about to make an appearance as well. There go my legs.

The Kid Stays in the Picture

My daughter Elanor is indeed a child of the computer age - five years old and already on YouTube.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Hand to Mouth


Anything Jack can get his hands on goes into his mouth (more or less - he's still not that coordinated). Witness the rattle my mom brought him from California.
Right now it's just sort of annoying, like when he tries to eat my hand when I'm dressing him, or when he shoves his bib into his mouth with both hands while I'm trying to shove liquified carrots into the same place.
But soon, I fear, it's going to become a problem:
"Where are my car keys?"
"Jack ate them."
Or:
"Has anyone seen the newest issue of Paste? Wait, here it is, covered in drool and teeth marks."
Or:
"Dude, what happened to your legs?"
"Jack bit them off."

Monday, March 17, 2008

Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead!


At a mere four and a half months of age, Jack has become very interested in real food. It began with little tastes of whatever we were eating - which practice was initiated by his Nana, who gave him real food, and his father, who gave him wine. He's since eaten bananas (he ate a whole banana Saturday night), corn, applesauce, and strawberries. Once he gets teeth, he'll be unstoppable.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Snow!


Twice this week, the first week of March, no less, and in Texas, where it never snows, we had two snowstorms - each of which deposited more than six inches of snow that had mostly melted within twenty-four hours. It was Elanor's first real experience with snow; Tuesday morning she woke me up at seven in the morning and wanted to play in the snow.


Wednesday it was warm again (the high was in the 60s or maybe 70s) and Thursday afternoon we got more snow. Ella was back out in the backyard, and this time she made little tiny snowmen - or "snow dudes," as she called them.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Gradual School Update

I finally started getting mail from the graduate schools I applied to late last week - unfortunately they're all rejections. So I won't be going to Yale, Brown, Rice, or U. of Virginia. Still no word from Harvard or U. of Chicago, but I'm obviously less than optimistic at this point - although stranger things have happened.

Also, moving forward at Starbucks isn't (ever) going to happen - something else I found last week, though it's what I expected. So the future is starting to look seriously uncertain. On the plus side, we might not have to move, which would be nice, because I hate moving.

Anyway. Maybe I'll have better news to post later in the week.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Budding Photographer

Ella's been playing with our digital camera lately. She's actually managed to take some good pictures.

Of people she loves:


(Ganny and Jack)


(Rosie)

And those she tolerates:


(Dad)

And a few arty shots of everyday objects:


(Jack's swing)