Monthly Archives: November 2009


It's tough to get a genuine smile out of Carter lately, once you point a camera at her. All she wants to do is make silly faces. Here's one that Lori took a couple of weeks ago, when we had the family over for the toy warehouse sale up the street.

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Twenty Years

I timed this, our 500th post on the blog, to coincide with the twentieth anniversary of the day Lori and I met - November 20th, 1989. I had just moved to town, and was starting over in a new school. We started as a pair of geeky, gawky teenagers, and are now eight years married and proud parents of two sweet, beautiful* children.

We have dated off and on since we were thirteen - as you can see in the photo from our high school yearbook, we were voted class sweethearts. Lori says that the first time she noticed me was in 7th grade English class, shortly after I had moved to Epping. I was doodling, seemingly not paying any attention, and the teacher called on me hoping to catch me unprepared. But I answered without hesitation, and Lori claims she was smitten. Eleven years later we were married. She's a very patient girl.

Lori has been by my side in everything I've ever done. Before we moved to Texas, she was my constant hiking companion. She always complained on the long climbs, but her bubbling joy and enthusiasm once we reached the top was worth dragging her up there. We're both looking forward to the kids getting big enough for us to pick the hobby back up in a more serious way.

When I got offered a job in Texas, she was completely supportive of the prospect - and never once made me feel guilty about asking her to move 2000 miles from where she grew up. Living away from everyone really made us realize how well we fit together, because we had no one else to rely on - and it only made our relationship stronger.

Over time, or little family of two grew. First their was Paige. We adopted her from a shelter out by the San Antonio airport, and it was love at first sight. Then Sadie joined us, and enriched our lives that much more. Until the kids came, the dogs slept in the bed with us, and it made our house feel less like a building and more like a home.

And then one day we heard that Tracy was pregnant. That's when we said to ourselves "what are we waiting for?" We had been putting off having children, waiting until we were "ready". But the truth is that you are never really "ready" to be a parent for the first time. And when Sean came, it was everything that we hoped and feared that it would be. People tell you that having kids changes everything, but what they don't say is that it changes everything for the better.

A year and a half later, we were finally starting to get into a normal routine and our life was settling down again. So we said, "let's have another!" As the ancient Chinese proverb says - "may you live in interesting times". And nothing breaks up the monotony in a household like an infant.

As the kids have grown, our lives have just been more and more fun, interesting, and challenging. It's just so amazing to me that the whole arc of my life started twenty years ago, in a small classroom in a small town, from the shy, sidelong glances shared by a geeky little boy and a sweet, pretty girl.

* for the sake of this post, please ignore anything negative I've ever posted here about the children and assume that they are lovely, cooperative little angels.

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42 Words of Wisdom: #16

"Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all."

- Douglas Adams

I just now fixed a bug in our software at work that has been on my to-do list for a long time. I've dipped into debugging it a few times in the past, and each time I had to leave it unfixed to struggle my way back out of that code while I still could, before I could fall hopelessly behind schedule. But today, I defeated the beast. :)

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Rocket Scarecrow

At school today, the students in Sean's class had to make up Indian names for themselves. His teacher explained what kind of names were Indian names, and then asked the kids to make up their own. But most of the kids didn't get it, though. They said things like "Pilgrim", or "Indian". But Sean got it right away. He immediately belted out with "Rocket Scarecrow!" I think that makes a great Indian name. His teacher was impressed that he caught right on to the idea.
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Last weekend, Sean and Ryan had a sleepover at our place - for the first time, in fact. All three kids did awesome, and had a great time! We are definitely going to have to do this again sometime soon. It's moments like these when Lori and I realize why moving back to New Hampshire was worth every bit of grief we went through to do it. Being around family makes all the difference.

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Rocket Boots

One recent night after I came home from work, Sean showed me the Christmas list that Mommy had helped him write. Among the normal things on his list - blocks, spider man action figures, etc. - was something that caught my eye. Rocket boots. So I started asking him about them, to try to find out why he wanted rocket boots. He has playing at the time, so at first he gave me his usual one- or two-word, distracted answers. But after I pressed him for a bit, he finally opened up and told me all about the boots. He said that they were red, blue, and orange, and ran on batteries. He said he needed them to fight an evil sandwich maker on the planet Green (I swear, I am not making this up!), and when he went to the planet Bumblebee, he could use the rockets to "burn up fighter guys". He told me much more than that, but this is all I managed to jot down before it all slipped out of my head.
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Special Wall

A few weeks ago, I read on the Make Magazine blog about a certain paint that you could paint on the wall to turn the whole wall into a white board. I had been planning to paint Sean's room soon anyway, and this seemed like a great idea. He loves to draw so much. When I first told him about this paint, and that he would be able to draw on his wall with special markers, and then erase it and draw new things - he just stared at me silently in disbelief, his eyes getting wider and wider as I went on. When I finished, he just let out a breathless "...thank you...!" Well, I put up the paint about a week and half ago, and last Sunday was the first day that it was finally cured enough to try it out. Here are a couple of pics from our first day with Sean's "special wall".

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I’m Happy About You

The kids tell us that they love us plenty often enough, but you always have to wonder how much of that is sincere, and how much of that is reflex. Sean has told me on a couple of occasions that I am his best friend, and I kind of like hearing that too. But those sorts of moments are few and far between. Well tonight we were watching our 'goodnight show' before bed, and Sean was sitting with Lori on the love seat, sort of snuggled in. And out of nowhere, at one point he looks up at her and says "I'm happy about you". I found it more than a little touching - that is not a sentence we've ever said to him, so we know it came from his heart.
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Daddy-Daughter Day #2

Sean had a party to go to last Saturday, so Carter and I had another daddy-daughter day. In the morning, we went to Maudslay State Park for a hike. She did great! We did almost two miles total, and she only asked to be carried the couple of hundred yards. She got to see a lot of cool things there - at one point, we were hiking through an area of dense, overgrown rhododendrons that we as big as trees, and that pressed in tightly on the trail. As we hiked along, we came across two pretty little granite bridges that I never even knew were there. And when we came out to our normal picnic spot, she walked back and forth along the top of a stone wall for a solid 15 minutes before I could convince her to move on. We also found an ancient pine tree that had 5 trunks all growing together, which left a cool little hollow in the center about four feet off of the ground. I gave her a boost up into it, and she played up there for a little while. She said it was her nest, and she was a little birdie. When we got the remains of the formal gardens, we spent another 20 minutes playing there. She was racing around the gardens, with me following her. She kept telling me that the whole area was her pirate ship, and that we were looking for the treasure. It's amazing how much she opens up chats my ear off when her brother isn't around competing for my attention.

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Lori and Carter made brownies last Wednesday, while Sean was at school. Carter got to lick the spoons while the brownies were baking. Once finished, those brownies lasted less than 48 hours in this house. That might even be a new record.

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