Showing posts from 2015

The Elephant of Light

This week got off to a slow start, trying to recover from all the bad habits sickness breeds. We took the week mostly off kid school and watched some movies and played. As we started to recover at the end of the week, Timmy got fussy. We finally realized that he's cutting a molar. Neither of our girls fused at all with molars, but we think that's his problem.

Thursday we watched Max and Petra while Scott and Sheila went to the new Star Wars movie, and then they watched our kids so we could go see it on Friday. Mike and Scott's work gave out tickets to the opening weekend, which was fabulous. We invited Daniel and some of his friends to join us, which was fun. The movie was great, very funny and well acted and enjoyable. We have been enjoying some long discussions about the plot and possible future directions for the series.

Friday during the day Alison and the kids went up to Kaysville. Josh and Katie and Kendrick are in town, and it was fun to see them. We went swimming a…

Sickness descends

This week for family night we bought some stuff for the ward secret Santa. On various other days we wrapped them up. Sunday we delivered them to the ward building (where the massive pile of gifts filled the clerks office). It was fun to talk to the girls about the spirit of giving and how it relates to the birth of Christ and the meaning of the Christmas season.

Starting Thursday we had a medium length sickness in some of our house. Rea and Sara both caught it, and it manifested as fever, lethargy, and vomiting. The lethargy was actually kind of nice a little, since it gave time to clean up the vomiting without the girls causing too much trouble.

Timmy was still super healthy and he wanted to cheer up the girls. This led to humorous miscommunication between the three, and Timmy learned how to say the word "OW!" whenever anyone does something to him that he doesn't like.

Rea got the worst of the sickness (she threw up on two different days), and Sara got a much less virul…

A week of Chinese take-out

We have been getting ready for Christmas this past week. We set up the tree, got out the Christmas books, and Rea has started making all sorts of decorations for our house. Here are a few:
One says: Merry Christmas, the other is a Santa Claus list which reads: Toothbrush, animal crackers, chocolate. (Santa always brings toothbrushes at our house).

Last week on Friday we went to a play at the U. The story was mainly a framing device for performing as many Christmas songs as possible. It was still pretty good.

I have been still getting ready for my Ion Award submissions. Hopefully I can be ready in time. I have had one person on the internet express interest in playtesting it for me, and the same guy read the rulebook and offered help on fixing it up.

Timmy decided to make a birthday cake the other day. He flattened play dough on a wooden block, stabbed crayons into it and started singing 'happy birthday to you'. he was very happy that we understood him.

He is also really horse …

Cannonballs made from local sand

We failed to blog last weekend. We were on vacation in California.

Not last week but the week before I went to QCON sf  (a technical conference) for work. It was fun and I learned a lot, however it was sad to be gone so long. 
I understand that Alison got along by visiting her mom's house nearly daily.
Perhaps the highlight of the week away was the best sushi I have had in the US. It was at Pabu in San Francisco. Highly expensive, but amazing. 
During our time as a family in San Diego we swam, walked on the beach, played games, and talked a lot. It was good to see the Poulson family. 
I tried to prepare my games for the Ion award.  If anyone is willing to help read my documents to see if they are well written, I would be very appreciative. Here is the one I am most worried about.

A quick update about the children (since we want to go to bed)

Timmy is being insanely cute and needy since we got home.

Rea boogie boarded a lot on the trip.

Sara wants to live at the beach, and is sad t…

Sara and the Other Drum Players

Since we have tickets to Star Wars in Dec. we are trying to watch the rest of the Star Wars movies before we see the new one. I don't think that we are going to make it. We just finished Episode 2, and we have been trying for over a month so far.

This week, Alison added a new section to Kidschool: Montessori activities.  She studied Montessori and we invested time and money into learning about it and making materials back when Rea was a baby, but it never really worked well then.  But she's pulled it back out now, with more mother-skills and knowledge about adapting things, and it's going very well.  The kids ask to do Montessori most days and spent hours using the materials on several different days this week.  It's been very rewarding for Alison to finally have it work.

On Tuesday, Rea achieved her math goal (playing our math block Mastermind with four blocks hidden) and wanted to go straight to the zoo.  Unfortunately, Alison got flashes of light obscuring her visio…

Beets, Legos, and Love Tokens

This week we finally decided that the kids were old enough to enjoy the 10 gallons of Legos Mike has saved since his childhood, so we've taken them out on about three different occasions and let them play.  Rea and Sara enjoy putting people on the horses and setting up barns and pastures.  Timmy watches Mike build space ships and then flies them around with whooshing noises and smashes them into things.  It has been very enjoyable.

A neighbor gave us a large bag of beets this year.  She gives us all kinds of garden bounty and we're very grateful for it, but Alison is the only one who really loves beets.  So Alison spent a lot of time and effort this week trying to find new beet recipes.  Probably the best-accepted one was beet-stuffed ravioli in a cream sauce.  Beet hashbrowns aren't bad either.

We did a lot of Halloween things this year.  One night we had a fire in the fireplace and ate donuts and drank apple cider; that's not exactly Halloween, but an important fall …

In which The Browns go visiting, and Rea and Sara nearly catch a Poozie.

Monday night Rea taught family night with flannel board people to act out the story of the brother of Jared.  She told it very well and remembered a lot more details than we expected.  The girls had fun moving the characters, although it was frustrating to try to keep Timmy out of them.

Tuesday was Sara's date night, but Alison also had to be at a Stake Auxiliary Training meeting, so Mike took her to get ice cream right after dinner and then came home to be with all the kids while Alison was gone.

Thursday evening we decided to have a fire and roast marshmallows.  We've had S'more supplies since June, so it was good to use some.  We all enjoyed the fire, and Timmy was pretty good about understanding that it was hot.

On Friday, we went out to go to the park with the homeschooling group, and the car wouldn't start.  The kids had turned on the dome lights and Alison hadn't noticed to turn them off, so the battery was dead.  Our jump box battery was dead, too, because …

Family: A blog post

On Tuesday night we went to the temple with the ward bishopric. Apparently the ward financial clerk is invited to such events. It was good to go. We don't get there enough because finding babysitters for an extended period of time is difficult. We also went to dinner afterward. It was fun.
On Wednesday we had Science Time with Daddy. The subject was gravity. We had a fun time talking about why we build walls vertical (and not diagonal or horizontal). We also talked about how on the moon you can jump higher, and how every planet has gravity that pulls things that are near the planet to the planet.
On Thursday Rea and I went out to the library for a daddy daughter date. She wanted to get more fairy books. It is great that she loves reading chapter books. Hopefully she can pick some that are higher quality some time :). I also went to do some home teaching.
Friday we made apple sauce as a family date. It was surprisingly easy, and the results tasted great.
Saturday we tried to pick …

Good sleep

This week we... Certainly we did something.

Wednesday for Science Time we talked about the particulate nature of matter.  That was an interesting one.  Rea seemed to get it, though. She did, at one point tell me that particles are called atoms, so apparently we had talked about it before.

Thursday was Rea's birthday.  She requested homemade macaroni and cheese and asparagus for dinner, and chocolate cupcakes for dessert.  We at it as a picnic in the backyard.  She made little fairy decorations for the cupcakes, and she got some lovely presents: a kit to make flower fairies, a set of laminated paper dolls of horses and fairies, a coloring book, a toy Dalmation puppy, a doll with a dress modeled after Elsa, and Quints dolls.  It was a very fun day and she was very happy.

Saturday we went and picked apples from a neighbor of Amy's.  Amy told us the apples were falling off her tree, so we asked if we could pick some and clean up the ground for her.  It was fun.  Rea was quite a lo…

A goat looking for love

Last Tuesday was Sara's daddy-daughter-date. She chose to get ice cream at macey's and to go to the playground and go on the slides.

This last week I also worked on my tower defense game that I am making for a programming competition. It is coming along decently. You can play the game, but it isn't complete yet.

I also finally convinced Scott to make a board game. It is moving quickly. It is a game where you play as villains, sending monsters to fight heroes. A unique idea.

On Wednesday we had 'science time with daddy' again. This time we talked about energy, and what it was. It went well.

On Thursday we had another Board game design group meeting. I presented my changes to Space Game, and there wasn't much feedback (perhaps I need to make some bigger changes or get it played with another group before I get more feedback).

Friday Alison went out and bought treats for General Conference as well as stuff for Rea's birthday while I took care of the kids. We h…

Monkeys and Meeples and Sleep Deprivation, Oh My!

This week Timmy has woken us up way too many times. It is like he has no respect for sleep.

On Tuesday the kids and Alison went to the Zoo. Rea and Sara both loved the dinosaur birds the best. Apparently, some scientists have decided that Utah Raptor was heavily feathered, so the zoo had a new feathery Utah Raptor. Timmy liked the elephants best.

Timmy has been playing peekaboo with people, and saying "Boo!" a lot this week.

On Wednesday Timmy had his 15 month check up. Alison was a little worried that the doctor would be concerned that he's not walking yet, but the doctor watched him walk holding on to Alison's hands and realized that he's capable of walking, he just doesn't choose to, so no worries. That's nice. Apparently his language development is right on target, although it's so far behind where the girls were at this age. He'll get his next shots when we get the not-sleeping-through-the-night thing worked out.

On Friday, Alison's paren…

The Belated Bulletin

I have been printing up the 240 twist counter order that I received. I ran out of filament on Friday, and had to order more. I am not done with all of the counters yet, but I have completed 175 of them.

Thursday grandma Sheila offered to watch the kids, so we went out to dinner and had a walk in a park. It was nice.

We went to see Fiddler on the Roof on Friday. It was excellent. We took the Poulsons and the Browns out to see it with us, and we had a good time. I would highly recommend it to anyone that has not seen it.

I have been reading about an ancient German permaculture technique called hugelkultur as part of doing research for my space game, so on Saturday we made a hugelkultur in our front yard. We have planted it with beans and are hoping that it will grow us lots of good food in future years.

Additionally, on Saturday we made another Havarti. I skimmed the milk this time, so hopefully it comes out less sharp than it did last time. I had it hotter than it needed to be in the be…


Rea's rash is getting better, though it is still a little bit itchy for her. We expect it to be better entirely before next Sunday.

I worked more on my space game this week. On Thursday we had a Board game design group meeting wherein I got a lot of good feedback. Alison and I brainstormed afterward and rewrote a lot of the game to make it simpler.

Also on Thursday I got a rough draft of the Moar Moai board from Dave. It is looking pretty good. I look forward to playing it again once he finishes it.

On Friday we finished off the sharp Havarti that we made a while back. We changed our minds and decided that we liked it because it melted so well. We will have to make another Havarti soon so that we can have more creamy Havarti goodness.

On Friday and Saturday we were able to go the seminar that Alison wrote about last week. The seminar was not as good as Alison was hoping, but we still had fun spending time together, and talked about good things. We are grateful to the Poulsons for w…


This past week we went to Wyoming to visit grandpa Mike and grandma Sheila. 
We spent the early part of the week getting ready to go, and on Friday we left.
We carpooled with those of or siblings that were also going, so that we only had to drive two cars total.
The kids loved riding together, and on the way there they were very good. 
The trip was successful (though sleep was hard to come by (due both to late night talking as well as kids sleeping poorly)).
We saw some sites while we were out there (the coolest to me was an arch that spanned a river), and I also worked a lot on my space game. 
My cards are coming along quite nicely. I should be ready for the design group meeting.
Timmy is now folding his arms during most of most prayers, and saying amen at the end. He loves shaking his head 'no' at everything, and still climbs like a champ. 
Sara was sick during much of the trip, but was still happy (for the most part). She loved playing with her cousins and grandparents. 


This was Rea's first week of homeschool kindergarten: She missed the kindergarten cut-off by a month, so all her friends from Church and the neighborhood started kindergarten this week and she didn't. So Alison told her that they would do a homeschool kindergarten. Alison says there's definitely been a learning curve, but things are going pretty well. Rea says her favorite thing to do is math, which Alison would have guessed was her least favorite from her responses, so that's interesting. She also practices handwriting, reading (Rea is reading aloud "Little House in the Big Woods"), and memory work, and Alison reads some classics (fairy tales, Aesop's fables, etc) to her. It all takes 30-45 minutes a day and has been going well. Alison is looking for some sort of group to join once a week to get out of the house more, but she hasn't found one she loves. She might have to create one.

On Wednesday we had Science time with Daddy for the first time. We t…

No Spoons Allowed and The Big Squash

Monday and Tuesday we played some games of Jurassic space at work. We made changes to the game, and it seems to be getting better (perhaps more polished, but it is a little hard to say.)

Rea asked me to print her a swan, so I printed two swan toys this week. One for Rea and one for Sara. They came out really good, and seem like they won't break. Here's to hoping.

Tuesday it was Sara's turn for a Daddy-Daughter Date. She decided to go to Macy's and get an ice cream cup to bring home and share. But then she wouldn't let anyone eat it with a spoon; she insisted that they only lick.

On Wednesday we had another Sandy board game design night. 6 people came (including two brother in laws). We played Jurassic Space and I got some good feedback.

On Thursday we got a quarter-cow from a local farm. It was chopped up into steaks and ground beef and such. All we have done with it as of yet is to make steak fajitas on Saturday. They turned out pretty good. We need to make some s…

Raptors on a Spaceship

This week we spent some time working on the front yard. We have dug paths in a wagon wheel configuration around the yard, covered them with sand and pavers (that were being thrown away by a ward member), and also built a sandbox in the middle. Alison is ordering a patio umbrella to cover the sandbox (to keep the neighbor cat out of it), and we plan on planting various gardens in between the spokes of the wheel.

Alison and the kids went on two hikes this week.  On Tuesday they joined a Meetup group hiking in Little Cottonwood Canyon.  The other big kids ended up not meeting us, so there were two 2 year olds and Rea and Sara and Timmy.  The girls still had fun, and we climbed on boulders and threw rocks in the creek and had a great time.  On Friday, we hiked Cecret Lake with Grandpa Craig and Grandma Julie.  Even Sara hiked the full 3.2 miles with steep switchbacks!  We ate currants, saw a moose up close, and watched waterdogs in the lake.  It was an awesome day.

Both days after hiking…

In today's news...

...Brazilian Lumberjacks cut down the last tree in the rain forest.

A spokesman for the Acme Toothpick company said, "Gee, that's too bad."

Additionally, grandma Sheila sent us thank you money for helping move. We decided that it would be best to go to Thai food with it. The girls ate a whole plate of chicken and vegetables in peanut sauce between them. They were apparently very hungry.

We also just discovered that Sara is very motivated by reverse psychology. All that you have to do to get her to clean her room is to tell her "It is time to clean this room. I want to make you clean it up by grabbing your hands and making you grab the things, but mom said that if you clean it up by yourself that I am not allowed to do that." She cleans it up every time if you say that.

She also will wash her dishes if you tell her she is too young to wash dishes.

Sara loves helping Timmy. she helped Timmy walk around the house by holding his hands one time. He doesn't alway…

Super good!

On Monday Sara taught a family night lesson. We don't really know what it was about, but she did teach it herself.

Tuesday I had a triple daddy daughter son date. We got ice-cream and went to the store. The kids liked it.

Wednesday Timmy got one shot and had no side effects this time (except for a little bit of sleepiness.) We are really happy about this because last one was a beast. Alison tried every natural remedy she could find for helping him adjust, so maybe some of the worked. She's not going to do a proper study, because that would risk it not working, and there's no way we're going through that again. (Three solid months of him screaming every time Alison wasn't holding him, and yes, the doctor said it was probably due to the shots. Yikes.)

Thursday Alison went to a meeting at the library, which turned out to be a fascist rally. She had me call her so that she could exit the meeting discreetly. We don't think that any fascists spies trailed her home, s…

What is kefir-juice anyway (baby don't hurt me)?

This week Timmy has been standing independently quite a bit. He really likes doing it. He is still not walking, but it has to be coming soon. He is really proud about it.

On Monday I printed up a larger twist counter to see if I could display 40 numbers on a twist counter. It took two tries to get something usable, but that is way less than the 20ish tries I had to do for the smaller ones.

On Wednesday we had a Sandy Board Game Design group meeting. It was fun. We played three games (one of which was a possible sequel to Above and Below (Which Alison and I both liked quite a bit)). Ryan liked my "Sorcery, Inc." game enough to offer to co-design it with me (which is really exciting since he is a game publisher, which makes me believe that if we can make it finalized then it will probably be published).

On Thursday I found out that my work was going to be moving to a new building one day early. That meant that I had to pack up all my stuff and get out one day early.
On Friday,…

Lady and the tramp spaghetti

This week Mike has been working hard to fulfill the rewards for his Kickstarter campaign. The new colors that some people ordered came in on Friday, so he printed the last of the rewards and sent them off on Saturday - except for one person who hasn't actually told Mike which size of windows he wants in his counters. When that person gets around to answering, we'll print and be done! We're glad to get it done so quickly and to have time to spend on other things. (Note - as we were composing this, he told Mike what he wanted, so the last counters are being printed at the moment and we will be done Monday, when the post office is open.)

Thursday Alison and the kids spent all day at the park, playing on the playground, eating a picnic lunch, and swimming in the pool. They went to the pool four times this week, and everyone's swimming is continuing to progress. They are really enjoying their pool passes and the time they spend outside. And still no sunburns!

Thursday eveni…

Kickstarter Success!

Alison and the kids have spent a lot of time going to the pool this last week. They are all enjoying it a lot. Andrea is swimming like a fish, and Sara is enjoying walking around in the water. Timmy will blow bubbles and crawl around on the steps. They are very glad that they got pool passes.

On Thursday the 3D printer power supply blew up. It was very bad timing because my kickstarter campaign depends on the printer working. We scrambled and got a new supply, so we are OK, but it would have been preferable to not have it blow up at all.

On Friday we went to The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) at the Off Broadway Theater. It was very funny. I think that it is still playing, so go see it. It is cheap and good.

On Saturday I rebuilt the power supply for the printer, made granola, and we went swimming as a family at the pool. The girls loved showing off their swimming skills, and Timmy was certain that he could swim too. It was fun.

On Sunday we played board games with H…

In which there are no exploding bananas

Last Saturday we went to my work party. It was super hot, but they provided us with free tiger blood snow cones, so we were ok. The girls liked the swimming pools and the pony rides, and the parents liked watching the kids have fun.

They gave us some fireworks at the party which will come up later.

Now, this week all that we did (says Alison) was go swimming and try to keep the house clean.

My Kickstarter campaign started on Monday and I have been managing it fairly actively. I have 15 backers and have $240 pledged (of a $40 goal) at this point in time. If no new pledges were made from here until the time that the campaign ended I would be happy since I am already going to have to make more than 90 counters (which will take some time.)

I am glad that the campaign has been quite successful.

On Friday I had the day off and so we hiked with the Poulsons up in Albion Basin (up Catherine's pass.) We made it to the little stream and then turned back (because the kids were done). It was …

Totoros, Fairys, and the Kickstarter

On Monday and Tuesday we helped Andy and Amanda paint the front of their house and clean out their gutters. We were pretty tired from the trip so far, so that was a nice break.

On Wednesday we went to the airport to go home, but the plane had been delayed. We missed our connecting flight in Denver by about half an hour and so we had to wait for 12 hours in Denver to get home. We went to the children's museum amid a tornado warning and flash floods. They made us stay in an inner room with nothing fun in it since the tornado could break the windows and turn the entire museum into a museum of death by flying glass as it were (the joys of tornadoes). When we got home (at 1:30 am) we went to sleep.

I missed some work on Thursday for some strange reason. Not really, Alison's car was broken and we had to get Timmy to a doctor's appointment. Not only is Timmy healthy, but we got the car fixed as well.

On Friday Alison took the kids to her mom's house. Her sister Katie was visi…

Neither burnt humans nor significantly dimorphic claws

We spent a excellent week in the outer banks of North Carolina. It was pretty fun.

At the beginning of the week Andrea, Sara, and Timothy were all scared of the ocean. By the second day they were braver (letting Daddy take them out beyond the breakers), and the third day they all got scared again (because they got splashed in the face or dunked by the waves - the surf was really rough by our beachhouse). By the last day they were all brave again. We went to a gentler beach and they all would crawl around in the waves saying they were swimming. Rea would really go out in the waves up to her knees and actually swim a bit when a big wave came in. It was fun seeing them learn to like the water. Sara in particular is excited now to learn to swim this summer, and Rea wants to improve her swimming even more.

Monday and Tuesday night we went out crab catching. The crabs were similar to fiddler crabs, but they didn't seem to have significantly dimorphic claws. Andrea was terrified of the c…

The first week of the trip

Monday through Wednesday we mostly just packed and fixed the most recent 3d printer problem. Apparently we were having hysteresis, which with a 3d printer is either the stuff heating up slower than it should, cooling slower than it should, or moving slower than it should (for us it was it moving slower than it should). Apparently I had a slight amount of delay between the time that it started to move the head and the time that the head actually moved.
Thursday morning when we were supposed to be leaving for our trip to DC and North Carolina our keys got stuck in the ignition of the car. We were later to the airport than we would have liked to be, but we did end up making it on time. Either way it was very stressful. Once we get home we will have to figure out what to do about the car.
The kids were pretty good in the airplanes. We had a layover, which is why it is airplanes plural. We spent a few hours in Denver sitting in the upper floor of the airport and playing and watching the bi…

In which Alison worries about people thinking that she put things in her armpit

Monday for Family Night Alison took charge of the lesson and made some new rules for our house:

You are free to play outside when: your dishes are washed, and your toys are picked up.You are free to ask for breakfast when: your bedroom is clean and your bed is made.You are free to choose a bed time story when: your playroom is clean and your dishes are washed.
Rea has complained about the new rules but has done pretty well. Sara rarely picks up a toy, but she did wash her dishes without complaining two whole times. Overall it is keeping the house pretty clean.

Our microwave blew up and we went without a microwave for a while. That was pretty fun. Alison discovered many unique ways to heat things. One time we had a cold sandwich and she put it under her armpit (haha; see here).

Alison wants me to make sure that you understand that she didn't really do this. It was a reference to a comic strip.

Timmy liked the old microwave. It is still sitting in our front room on the floor because I…

At Some Lovely Birthday Party for Some Lovely Mom

All last weekend we celebrated Alison's 30th birthday. Friday night we went out for Thai food, and on Saturday night we went to a triple birthday party at our church. Sunday we opened up presents. Alison got nice salt and pepper grinders, a fiction book that she wanted, and a Pyrex storage set (which was her favorite gift).

On Monday we invited people over for a Memorial Day barbecue. We had five attendees (including baby Ellie). We tried charcoal, but it took forever. We ended up using a George Foreman to finish everything off.

During the barbecue Scott and I assembled a new 3D printer that we bought together. We got it put together and printed up some things. The first few prints were not very good, but over the last week I have been improving my printing skills, and I can now make any number of cats with ease.

On Thursday and Friday Scott and I attended Google IO Extended. A new version of Polymer was just released, and Google just announced that they are allowing people to stor…