29 December 2007

Video: RSS in Plain English

I've tried to post this video through the YouTube interface several times. I spoke about this a few times, so here's the video explaining how great an RSS reader can be.

Update: That way easy. There must have been a bug on YouTube side when I first tried this feature. It works great now - so expect more videos!

27 December 2007

Homestead 76

My sister is getting screwed from the 76 on Homestead & 85. They said total payment under $125. Isn't this illegal? Watch out for these shenanigans.

Update: Korynne got an update from the mechanic and has worked things out. She's happier with the service, but still paid the $$ on the work order. I've included some information about the legality of proper estimates from garages below. If Korynne had gotten the written estimate, this misunderstanding would have been avoided. Oh, and it isn't clear from the picture (grrr, cell phone camera), but she paid over $200.

From the Bureau of Automotive Repair: A Consumer's Guide to Auto Repair.

Giving Your Authorization

No work can be done until you receive an estimate and authorize the repairs by signing a written estimate or work order.

If the technician later determines that additional work will cost more than the original estimate, the additional work may not be done without your consent. Someone from the shop must contact you, describe the additional work and associated costs, and get your permission to proceed.

If you give verbal authorization over the telephone - for instance by saying, "Okay, go ahead" - the shop may proceed with the work, but they must make a notation...

20 December 2007

Car for sale

Today, I felt like I rode to work on a horse - a greasy horse.

Am I selling you yet? Also, I felt a little like Alan Alda riding the dusty hills of Southern California. But I was on 85 driving in wet weather.

My pants are now greasy and my shirt is wet, but I made it into work.

As an aside, Collette busted her lip and chipped her tooth while we were waiting at the airport. Collette looks so bruised from the scatches on her face (from Abigail) and hands (a cat) to her busted chin (Abigail again) and rash around the mouth (pacifier?).

19 December 2007


The entire family has just landed at Oakland airport. We're waiting for our luggage - boy has this palce changed since I've last flown in here.

We look forward to seeing our family and friends in the bay area. We'll be here through January. Call us if we don't call you!

13 December 2007

Abigail's mail

Thanks, Jake! Abigail loved getting your mail. Here she is right before it went up on the fridge

01 December 2007

Abigail's Birthday Party

Today we had Abigail's birthday party. We continued our tradition of making pizzas and decorating cupcakes.

We had a great time, and Abigail's cake was a group effort between Laura and myself with Julie applying the finishing touches to the tea kettle pound cake.

30 November 2007

Playing with new features of blogger

Yesterday, I got a new phone - Blackberry 8320. That has a camera, and so I thought it time to active the mobile blogging feature I've noticed on my blogger dashboard. I took a few pictures of the kids last night, and you can see those posts below. The first one was of Abigail, but that didn't seem to go through right away, so I kept trying. Eventually three duplicate posts appeared (I've since deleted them). It would be nice if the blog could recognize dups and not post (perhaps hold them in a type of 'moderation' queue).

Also, I set up Laura's phone this morning. She uses a Motorola Razr, which works fine too.

I hope the picture quality is good enough. I really think this is a great feature. There's often those candid moments when we're out and about that would be nice to capture. This makes it much easier to share it with everyone.

Finally, I'm going to try out the YouTube, one click share to my blog. If you're coming hear everyday to check if there are new posts, you may want to try a reader (I use this one). Of course, you'll want to drop by here every once in a while to leave a comment (so I know you're listening). My next post will be a handy video explaining what a reader is and how to use it.

California girls

Mom went to get glasses and the girls tried a few pairs on too.

29 November 2007

Collette in front of her new night light

OK - last picture of the night from my new blackberry.

Bejamin in the bath

I'm playing around with my new phone and using the mobile blogging feature.
Another cute kid, huh?

Cold Abigail

This is Abigail cold for dinner. She decided to wear my ski cap. Cute!


Mobile blog

26 November 2007

Difficult nights happen

This week, for FHE, we talked about the Golden Rule. At least, we tried to talk about it. It was difficult to get the kids settled down to listen to the lesson. They were fighting over Abigail's birthday present - a box of rings. Neither would listen. Collette ended up crying. In this case, I think Abigail noticed how annoyed Mom & especially Dad were getting. At one point, she said she wanted to sit down and listen (while shoving her sister to the floor).

I'm not describing it well, but know both Laura and I wanted to lock the kids outside for a little bit. It got that stressful. Of course, we didn't. I wasn't really into the lesson much because of how upset I was with the kids. Let's just say it was a less effective FHE.

Just wanted to share that some moments are tough. I love my children. I'm a little embarassed that I can't be the perfect Dad who calmly handles every difficult situation. It's something I have to work on constantly or else it feels like I'm the worst parent ever - which just makes me feel bad.

That's a major part of my life that's under construction...

21 November 2007

Somehow the birds knew

On Saturday, Abigail and I went bike riding. We kept seeing the geese fly over head - getting out of Colorado.

Somehow they knew that it was going to be the first real cold week here. It's below freezing, and the snow is falling. The first snow of November (it snowed once in October, but was nice and sunny by noon). It snowed a little last night when Laura and I went ice skating for my birthday.

The snow really accumulated over night. The girls were quite excited and immediately got dressed to play outside. The first thing Abigail did was lie down to make a snow angel. She quickly got too cold to go outside. After warming up and getting gloves on - she went back out to enjoy the snow with Collette. Collette's a trooper - and would have stayed in the snow forever, despite her hands being cold.

19 November 2007

Don't look, Dad - close your eyes!

That's the first thing Abigail told me as I walked in the door. The girls had chocolate on their faces while desperately trying to keep a secret.

Abigail said the following:
  • There's nothing in the oven
  • There's only a chocolate thing in the oven, but it isn't for you
  • The thing in the oven is for lunch, when you're not here
  • Don't look in the oven
  • There's nothing in the oven
After family home evening, Laura brought in a brownie with a scoop of ice cream and a candle. The girls sang Happy Birthday to me. And everyone blew out the candle. We all had brownies and ice cream for a treat. For family home evening, we read an article about 'Thank you' and talked about why we're grateful. It was a nice moment.

My birthday is tomorrow, but it's fun to extend the festivities. I think Laura has a night out for us planned and wanted to do something with the girls tonight. When Laura mentioned the babysitter was coming over, Collette said, "Mom, you stay here." She's silly. We had a great night. It was fun!

Happy Birthday Dad!!

We love you and hope you have a great day! Here are some recent photos of Dad with his kids:

10 November 2007

Ben rolled over!

For the first time yesterday, Ben rolled over completely. He's been very close but the shoulder was hanging him up. He got over it and now won't stop rolling over. Now begins the time of difficult to change diapers and clothes.... Here's the picture right after he rolled onto his tummy

Mommy looks like Ben

The other day I was holding Ben in front of the mirror to make him smile and laugh. Abigail stared at us for a minute and then said, "mommy, you look like Ben." I think it's funny to hear that coming from my 4 year old. I hear lots of people tell me who my kids look like but it's hard to see it as a parent. They just look like themselves to me. But, here was Mommy and Ben in the mirror:

06 November 2007

Book Review: The Blind Side

The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game
By Michael Lewis
Norton, 288 pp.

What did Lawrence Taylor do to the game of football? As outside linebacker for the NY Giants, LT destroyed quarterbacks. He reveled in making his opponents fear him - having ended the career of Joe Theismann, every quarterback entering the field against LT knew the danger of getting hit snd finish a game, a season, or even a contract on the sidelines.

Because of LT, offenses changed to compensate - with a focus on protecting the blind side. With the advent of free agency and salary caps, organizations had to decide the most valuable players on the field. As Lewis demonstrates, the left tackle is the highest paid position in the NFL, secong only to the man they protect - the starting quarterback.

What begins as a commentary on the evolution of a game turns into a narrative of the making of one left tackle. The perfect combination of size, strength, and agility came out of under-privileged Memphis in Michael Oher. Oher began attending a Christian private school and was adopted by the well-to-do Tuohy famiy, which set out to make Oher successful.

Oher, under the watchful eye of the Tuohy family, went from a near illiterate to an average student in just a couple of years. This transformation opened the world of NCAA sports to Oher, which will likely lead him to become the most sought after left tackle in the NFL. He's currently playing football at Ole Miss.

For even the casual fan, understanding the evolution of the left tackle position is intriguing. After reading this book, it's hard to watch a football game without looking to the edge of the screen to see if the left tackle is doing his job. Well, you'll at least look for it on replay - when he doesn't do his job, and the team suffers.

While the general trend in the NFL is interesting, the life of Michael Oher is fascinating. The Tuohy family integrating Oher into their lives is an amazing story of charity. The Tuohy family proves that a radical change in environment can make all the difference in the world. Oher was plucked from a wasted world, where his likely future included drugs, gangs, and an early death and inserted into a loving, nurturing home. By recreating his life with the Tuohy's, Oher thrived in school & sports. His IQ went from 80 - 100, demonstrating that environment can make all the difference in the world.

To sports fans and educators alike, I recommend this book.

04 November 2007

Benjamin Laughing

A video from a couple of days ago:

Laura & I love this sound.

02 November 2007

Don't drag the leaves in!

The other day Abigail was trying to make a bouquet out of leaves from our backyard and wanted to bring them inside. I told her I didn't want a bunch of leaves scattered over the house, so I thought, what else could we do with them? Instead, we made our own trees. Here is Abigail's:

Also, I have to say how cute Abigail was yesterday. She was watching a Dora with Collette and Dora asked the question, "what do you want to be when you grow up?" Abigail answered, "I want to be a clown so I can make my mom smile." Doesn't get much cuter than that!

Happy Halloween!

We had a fun halloween, hope your family did, too!

28 October 2007

I love fall

This is my favorite time of the year. I used to love from Thanksgiving to Christmas, which I still do, but I really enjoy this time of year now. It's especially fun in Boulder where there are lots of leaves to play with and really be able to decorate my house up. We had some fun cleaning up the other day-enjoy!


Most of the time, this is how I see my son:

However I can't take him outside the house without someone--usually many people-- saying what a surprised look he has on his face. Because to them he looks like this:

He does look like that often enough. But he is so quick to smile I think it helps. Ben's a great baby most of the time--I could complain a little about his interrupted sleeping at night, but for the most part, he is great. Collette still adores him and I found her reading to him the other day. I thought it was pretty cute so I ran and got my camera

23 October 2007

Harvest Festival

This past Saturday we had a Harvest Festival at our house. Around 25 kids came--plus their parents-- but it was loads of fun. There was apple bobbing, butternut squash bowling, donut eating from strings, a homemade bean bag toss-compliments of my dear husband, sugar cookie decorating, plus great food and yummy fall drinks--wassel and even orange hot chocolate!

Our kids had a blast--well Abigail and Collette. Ben slept through most of it. He is starting to get a bit overwhelmed when there are a lot of people around--so it was for his benefit.

This is my favorite time of year and I loved having this at our home. I got to decorate the house-picture coming later--and go above and beyond my average stress level to really feel the spirit of fall here. And thanks to Joel for dealing with all of my demands for him the last two weekends. He can now resume his normal husband duties on the weekends!

Enjoy the pictures and I will try to keep this post going. I will hopefully make it a hobby.

01 July 2007

Benjamin Stephen

Born 29 June 2006.
8lbs. 2oz.
22 inches.

Very healthy & happy - both mother and son.