Monday, October 20, 2008


Our girl is celebrating the change of seasons. The other day she opened the front door to see leaves littering our front lawn and exclaimed “Finally! It’s really fall!” Of course most exciting to her is the fact that it means a change of wardrobe. She has been pining for her opportunity to wear sweaters, jackets and long pants.

As for our boys, it’s business as usual. With only a modest increase in the use of the childhood expletive “aawwe” from our oldest boy (or in the case of our youngest, an aggravated shriek) when required to add some additional clothing before bounding out the door (or in the case of our youngest, at being dragged back inside), they are as adventurous and mischievous as ever.

Now, on to the more interesting portion of this post, the pictures:





Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I was thinking the other day a little bit about the socialization process. I started thinking about my two oldest children and wondering how much of their personality seemed to be built-in. Have we as parents done anything to reinforce gender specific behavior in our children?


But, are we really this good at it?







Saturday, September 13, 2008


While visiting with a friend from out-of-town (the author of Rees Genre), we were asked when she could expect to see a family gallery here on the blog. Well, here we go.

I thought I would begin with the newest member of our family. For those of you who have not met our newest addition, allow me to introduce…..



Is that not the coolest computer case you’ve ever seen? Mrs. P loves the spoiler.

After seven years of faithful service to our family, we finally had to replace our old PC. Over the past few years, Mrs. P and I have built nearly a dozen computers for friends and family (including four for my office). The Antec P182 is the most interesting case I have ever worked with. Designed to maximize cooling and minimize noise, the case has an entirely unique design. While functioning extremely well, isolating the PSU in a lower chamber makes for some tricky cable management. Ultimately, we ended up with this beautiful build:


Just look at that baby gleaming in the morning sunlight!

(I did have a little difficulty getting the tripod to stand level in the grass)

Almost majestic, no?

Thursday, July 31, 2008


After ‘A’ (our 3 year old boy) managed to destroy our microwave oven, rendering our house virtually uninhabitable for several days in the process, we thought we would try living without a microwave for a while. Two days later we headed to Lowe’s to shop for a replacement.

As is typically the case in our house, replacement turned into upgrade. After all, if we were going to spend money on something as mundane as a microwave oven, we might as well make it an investment of sorts. So, our simple countertop variety microwave was upgraded to an over-the-range version. Unfortunately, our range and cabinets were not designed for such an upgrade.

We went from contemplating replacement to investigating an upgrade to tackling a minor construction project – all in about a two to three day period.

Realizing that remounting a portion of our cabinets and working with some electrical wiring issues were outside of our very limited construction experience, we consulted an expert (neighbor who owns a construction business). His price quote of $150-200 seemed very reasonable. But, we thought we should first consult Mrs. P’s father, who is also a general contractor. After reaffirming the process explained to us by our neighbor, he told Mrs. P that $150-200 was very reasonable for a professional job.

Not wanting to spend money on a new microwave in the first place, and armed with YouTube videos, we decided to roll up our sleeves and do it ourself.

Here is the somewhat less than detailed step-by-step explanation of our little project (with pictures):


Detach the range hood and assess the available space for a microwave.



Use Photoshop to create a rough mockup to make sure the finished product is not going to look ridiculous.



Detach the cabinet and prepare it for remounting.



Remount the cabinet high enough to allow for the upgraded microwave to mount below it.



Mount an outlet box in the cabinet, run the electric wiring through a newly cut whole in the bottom of the cabinet, connect the electric wires in the dark (microwave is wired to the same circuit as the kitchen lights) and mount the upgraded microwave.



Remove the upgraded microwave mounted in the previous step after realizing that the microwave is 1/2 of an inch lower on the right than the left. Discover that the clunking sound we heard when attaching the front right mounting screw was defective mounting hardware falling into the innards of the microwave. Contemplate cracking open the case to see if we could locate the hardware and remount. Wise-up and return to Lowe’s for a replacement upgraded microwave.



Mount the replacement upgraded microwave.


Friday, July 18, 2008


Our girl has always been a lover of the water. She would spend all day everyday at the pool, lake, beach - anywhere there is water - if it were up to her. This year we decided to give swim team a try.

When she started the season, she was a little uncertain about the amount of work it would require. She came home after one of her first practices and said (with a great deal of skepticism) "My coaches said by the end of the season I would be able to swim all the way across the pool without stopping!" "Do you know how far that is!?" "It's farther than from here (kitchen countertop against which I was leaning) to the door!" "And, they say I will learn how to dive?!!".

Check out the form for that dive!


Once in the water, it's all about technique...


Like the new goggles?

We end with a portrait of our swimmer. Just before her first meet she said to me "I am just going to have fun. If I don't win, it won't matter. I'll just say great job to who ever wins." She first swam a relay, then her first individual event, the 25 meter free style. After coming out of the water the first words out of her mouth were "Did I win?!"

Monday, June 02, 2008

Slow Healing...

It really is amazing how different the world is for a six year old girl. The lingering tragedy of a skinned knee can consume attention as efficiently as the most entertaining TV show. Just look at that face :-(

Monday, May 26, 2008

We're just getting to know our way around the new camera. These are not great from a technical standpoint, but we thought they were fun
Ooo, whatchya got there mom? New Camera? Let me taste...

Can I make a break for it?

Whoohoo, I made onto the driveway!

Look at me, Mom!

Arrrg, the Blue-eyed Drool Monster!

Shhh, they'll never find me over here.

Which button am I not supposed to push again?

Hey, Who's out there?
Here comes the belly!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


After years of longing for a DSLR, we finally got one. Here are just couple quick pics with our new Rebel XSi/450D. Expect a lot more pictures of our kids to start showing up here.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Even though it’s Mother’s Day, I cannot say that I learned everything I need to know from my mother. After all, Father’s Day is just around the corner. Still, so much of what I know that is of real value, I learned, or in most cases am still trying to learn, from my mother.

So I write and dedicate the rest of this post to you, Grandma P.

After twenty years of formal education, I can honestly say, the best and most valuable lessons I have learned were taught to me by you, Mom, or more accurately, by your example.

A Sense of Humor

You’ve shown me how finding opportunities for laughter and lightheartedness can bring a vibrancy to life that is so easy to miss in what otherwise feels like a pendulum swing between the difficult and the mundane. Perhaps more importantly, your willingness to laugh at yourself has had immeasurable value in my life. Being able to laugh at myself has often snatched me from the grip of deepening despair.

A Genuine Work Ethic

Everything I have accomplished that holds value to me came because I worked for it. I am far from perfect in this regard, but you have provided me a perfect example to strive for. Whether it was housework, employment, volunteering or my last minute school project, you have demonstrated to me over and over what it means to work.


I cannot think of any other person in this world who is more willing and able to genuinely feel the trials and suffering of others. I can recall what seem to be countless neighbors, friends and family members to whom you offered a listening ear, a gentle word or a warm embrace. And how often I have seen others gratefully take your offering shows just how sincerely you care for others.


You have certainly had your share of adversity in life. I cannot recall seeing you indulge in self-pity for more than a brief moment. Throughout my life you have demonstrated a strength and a resiliency that has shown me how to get up, brush myself off and keep going after stumbling and falling beneath the weight of my own trials.

Being a Worrywart

Yes, I have learned from the best how to worry. While this attribute does carry with it a certain amount of digestive instability, it has also served to keep me grounded. You have taught me that there are certain things in this life that deserve being worried over. I have watched you anguish over things that seemed to me to be beyond your ability to control or even influence. Sometimes you proved me wrong and found a way to influence the situation. More importantly to me, you always seemed to emerge at the end of the process with a new found strength and calmness. While I wish I were better at parsing the important and trivial things I worry over, I have come to appreciate the value of taking the time and effort to wrestle long enough with a problem to actually learn a lesson from it.


Over the years you have provided me an unwavering example of service to others. I have watched as you served with uncommon diligence in every calling you received in the church. When it comes to the service you render for others, the extra mile is really just the beginning. On top of that, you have done it in a quiet humility that I have rarely, if ever, seen in another.

Having started this, I now realize I will never be able to write something that does justice to what your example has meant to me. There are simply no words that will adequately convey to you, Mom, the love and gratitude I feel for you. Thank you so much for all you do and all you are. Happy Mother’s Day.

Your Son

Saturday, April 12, 2008

While browsing through our more recent photos, I realized we had a decent little collection of action shots. The following shots are illustrative of both the energy often exuding from our children and of some of our recent noteworthy activities.
It seems you can always count on some sunshine for Easter. Fortunately, this year was no exception. Othwise, Mrs. P. would not have captured this priceless action shot of our girl and her flowing (or in this case, flying) locks.

As may be evident from the above Picture, A had some pretty stiff competition in the egg hunt.

In the middle of it all, our little I took a slower pace, which is typically quite out of character, but he is not well enough acquainted with the grass just yet.

At the end of it all, there was still enough time for a quick family protrait.

The other big Action News...S mastered her two-wheeler on her first try. Litterally, it was a matter of Mrs. P. getting her started and then "Let go Mom!" and she was off and riding. No instruction needed for balancing, turning or breaking - she just got it! It's all in the genes!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Memorializing Priceless Moments.....

In an effort to preserve some of the truly priceless statements made by our children, we have decided to begin memorializing them here.

From our 2-1/2 year old boy:
- Last night during dinner he began requesting cereal instead of his pizza. "I want cocoa cuffs, cocoa cuffs [then in Yuletide song] cocoa all the way!".
- When asked "Why aren't you eating your pizza? Do you not like the green peppers?" He replied "No, they're little bit sgusting."
- Recently we were setting up a cold air humidifier for S (at her request). Our boy's advise to his big sister: "Don't worry bout the Q-Fire S, Just BE CAREFUL."
- Some of his favorite foods are "Chicken Ladas" and "Sketti". He also really likes dill "tickles".

Our girl, now 6-1/2:
- Still occasionally puts her dirty clothes in the hampster; and always tries to do what she is asposed to do.
- (This took place almost 3 years ago, but definitely is deserving of recordation.) When A's mother was suffering in the latter stages of ALS, she was going in for surgery to have a feeding tube inserted. Because of the severity of her condition, the doctors feared that she would not survive the surgery. If she did survive, she would likely lose her ability to breathe independently and never be taken off of the ventilator. S listened intently to A's emotional and tearful telephone conversation with her sister regarding the situation. At the end of the phone conversation, S (now sobbing herself) asked: "Why won't grandma ever be able to get off the elevator?!" Immediately after the words left her mouth, she knew "elevator" was not the right word and she and A both burst into laughter.