Monday, June 25, 2007


As some of you may know we have a very small pond in our backyard. In this pond we have Frogs. When I discovered the frogs I was not pleased. Josh had to find a new home for as many as he could. One weekend he removed 13 frogs. Unfortunately we did not get them out before they did the nasty, and we now have a zillion tad poles.

A few frogs remained after we tried to exile them. I don't mind them as much now, so they will probably remain, unless Toby eats them.

This weekend Parker and Isabella wanted Josh to catch a frog so they could see it and hold it. After several attempts, one of which we learned that them there frogs are great jumpers, we adjusted our plan to include a lid for the Rubbermaid, Success! Josh caught us a cute green one. Bella loved it. She was so brave. She petted it, held it all by herself, and even kissed it multiple times.

Parker was very scared and forced to touch it against his screaming will.

Toby and Zeke were way fascinated. Toby was very hyper and couldn't control himself. He was jumping on anyone holding the frog and almost turned this story into a tragedy when the frog got out of our hands and made a break for it. After a fun day Bella released him back to the pond.

Click here to see all the cute froggie pictures.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Thirsty Dog

Joce loves bedtime. As I start heading toward the bedroom after putting the boys to bed she starts barking little excited barks and running in circles. Shew knows that it is time for her bedtime snack, a greenie. Em and I finish up our bedtime preparations about the time Joce finishes her greenie and she heads off to get a drink of water, but last night the water bowl was empty. This happens every couple months. Joce has developed her own special way of letting us know that she needs more water. She finds a water bottle from somewhere in the house (usually under our bed) and brings it to us. She is smarter than we give her credit for.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Quickie mass MD update

Starting off with Em/Baby, she is about to pop, due date is this Friday and is she ever ready to get the little one out! Friday the doctor says she has started to dilate a little, but that the baby hadn't dropped yet. Baby is getting nothing but healthy marks. (S)He has spent the last several months beating up Em's insides. I am amazed that a little baby inside of her can actually make a big bulge run across her belly and back again, lots of fun to watch (for me anyway). I'm hoping that the baby will come soon so I can hold it. Talking with other guys who have had their first kid in the last few years holding the baby seems to be the "Wow it's real/I'm a parent" moment for dads where the moms have had several months of being beaten up to help them realize how real this is. I can't wait!

On to baby preparations. The nursery is basically done, we just have to put up the stuffed animals on the wall shelves and have a baby to put in it. The theme is Noah's Ark so there are lots of stuffed animals and Em made some bumpers from Noah's Ark material and is getting ready to start on some drapes for the room. It looks real nice, I'm lucky to have married a master decorator. I'll get some pictures up, probably after the kid comes. I even finished adding extra bars to the cradle that I spent my first few months in to bring it up to current safety code. As long as you don't look too close it looks pretty good :) We have taken several classes including a breast feeding class (I was told to come by a teacher at the hospital but ended up being the only guy), what to expect during labor/tour/relaxation/everything you ever wanted (and didn't want) to know about birth, and a new born baby care. Between the classes and book reading I think that we are fairly well prepared.

We are nearly as moved in as we will ever be, though I will have more unpacking to do after my office gets finished.

The house is falling into shape, and some times falling apart :) The kitchen has been usable for the last few months now that we have wonderful counter tops, our appliances all hooked up, and a plumbing job done by yours truly (with phone support from Dave, and no it hasn't leaked yet). It's still missing a few finishing pieces but should come together quickly with just a little more effort.

With all the work we have put into this house I thought that we might be finally reaching a slow period but the house had other ideas. The down stairs bathroom must have been installed later, so it didn't have waste plumbing run and requires an ejector pit (hole in the floor/pump) to work, the pump died so the downstairs bathroom is unusable. On top of that, today (Saturday) the main beaker coming into the house has tripped about 8 times! The house came with a 1 year warranty, hopefully it will take care of these repairs.

Recently most of my repair time has been spent on fixing up our yard and working on the spare lot trying to get it into sellable shape. I highly recommend against trying to mow a full acre of grass with a push mower every week :) By the time we got a mower earlier this year the grass was a good 6 inches high, it took about 3 Saturdays worth of mowing to get it all under control! The flower beds are next. Today I just put the mower in the front flower bed and mowed down everything in there (mostly grass). The spare lot is ready to go other than a big pile of tree limbs (we have about 20 70 foot pine trees) sitting in one corner and a few left over fence posts from the dog run I've been taking down. We listed it this week priced for a quick sale, though the market hasn't been great around here for the last few months.

Both Em and I are wolf cub den leaders. So far we haven't had to do much but show up because they have been working on a large group project (go carts). I think that it will be a lot of fun!

Work has finally slowed down. All systems have been officially accepted and are being heavily utilized. I have now made the transition from working on getting the systems integrated and acceptance testing to filling a much less stressful support role where i work on site 4 days a week and work from home 1. I plan to take some Calc classes over the summer to get back into the swing of school.

The dogs love our back yard. Zeke can spend hours out side looking for squirrels and rabbits to chase. Toby likes to chase Zeke and Joce likes to go and lay out in the sun.

Magellan RoadMate 3050T Vs. Garmin nüvi 350

Over the last several months Em and I have had two different vehicle navigation systems while looking at houses in Maryland. We started out with the Magellan RoadMate 3050 from Costco and nicknamed Dolly by Carol, after her aunt. Dolly had a nice big screen and auto dimmed at night. She was usually quite accurate about when to turn and where to stop. Her best feature was her voice, she is very very easy to understand and usually gets pronunciations correctly. Dolly's biggest problems were all the buttons around the outside edge of the case. Any time you try to pick her up or pull her off the windshield some random button gets pushed, putting her in some random screen that you would then have to get out of. The only other major problem with Dolly is that she had a problem with locking up while being used (she ran windows). At times this would leave you driving several miles past a turn before realizing she locked up and then having to reboot her and wait for her to recalculate. We had two units and had taken the first one back because it locked up too often but found the second one had the same problem. Eventually we took Dolly back for a refund (isn't Costco wonderful!).

For our next trip we bought the Garmin nüvi 350, initially called nüvi but eventually renamed to Dolly. This Dolly is much smaller so she doesn't block as much of the view out the front window, doesn't crash, and has a touch screen so there are no side buttons to accidentally bump, and has most of the features of the old Dolly. Yay! The only big problem with this new Dolly is that she doesn't say the name of the street that you are going to turn on so you end up having to look at the screen for clarification while driving.