Saturday, January 23, 2010


Me: Grant, what do you want for breakfast?
Grant: Cereal.
Me: Well, you can get that yourself.
Grant: OK, a waffle then.
Grant: "My cents don't stay in my wallet because the zipper came unplugged."
more hahaha.

and this email from him the other day when they were off school and i was at work:
"Spencer won't let me play wii because he wants to play alone and so I tried to call but he hid all the phones and was torchering me while I was searching then he ran downstairs and grabbed player 1 and came back up and punched me in the stomach. I didn't cry because I was breathless. So here I am hiding in the fort to scared to come out emailing you."
it wasn't that bad, I swear! This is the same kid who asked me to "scroll down the window" in the van last summer.

Grant will be an excellent writer, heck, he already is!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Spencer's Germany Trip

Spencer has been back from Germany for two days now. Details continue to come to the surface but at a very slow rate! He had a great time, is none the worse for the wear, and claims only to have missed water and milk (plus us....awww!). He spent most of the trip at his great-uncle Franz-Joseph's house, sleeping in a room with four computers and not far from the rooms that held even more computers. He was able to work on his Visual Basic programming while there, good thing he took his huge Visual Basic book with him!!

A nice benefit of the jet lag is that he's going to bed earlier and getting up earlier. He hardly made it through dinner out last night. He was home, in bed, and asleep by about 7:15, then up at 5 am. We'll see how long it lasts since he's normally our big sleeper. Here are two slide shows. One of the people, buildings, sights, and scenes. The other is of the museum exhibits he most treasured.

Mouse over the slide show for the controls to pop up. Or, you can click on the slide show and go directly to the picassa slide show which is bigger.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Great Basement Muck-Out of 2010

Over break I systematically went room by room and organized the heck out of them. Many trips were made the thrift shop and dump (unfortunately). It's a reminder to be really choosy about new acquisitions. One of the areas of greatest improvement was the basement and Robert's office area. We consolidated the storage and moved it all to one area, freeing up the vast majority of the space for better use. Now it makes sense to think about sanding, priming and painting the unfinished walls. We have one area for swings, rings, foosball, and the mini tramp. Another area has the exercise equipment and eventually the plan is to move the Wii down there.

The chief technical officer with his second-in-command, Trixie.

I'm kicking myself for not taking a "before" picture because it was something to behold. A very busy place indeed! But heck, this is where great ideas take root and work gets done.

Here's where the junk ended up - on the back wall of the basement in the workshop area.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

More snowboarding

Today we went to Boyce Park Ski area, part of the Boyce Park area owned by Allegheny County in PA. It's about 45 minutes away. They have a snowtube hill, a beginner hill with magic carpet lift, and one chair lift that serves three short slopes. The chair lift was down so the place was not at all busy. Grant got another lesson (cheap - $20!). I got a few runs in, but Grant went for a solid 3-1/2 hours, over and over and over. He got pretty good by the end but I don't have video of the end product, just this one from early in the evening. Notice how he barely misses running into three separate people on the hill!

Even I got a few runs in.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sports Works

Today Grant went with his Boompa (Grandpa) to Sports Works in downtown Pittsburgh. It's part of the Carnegie Science Center group of museums.

This elevated cycle says it all...the kid does have Nerves of Steel!

Running...he's speedy!

Playing robot air hockey


Since Grant discovered snowboarding on the Wii, he's wanted to do the real thing. Yesterday we stopped off at Winterplace in Flattop WV, a 75 minute drive from the house and conveniently on the way to my folk's in Pittsburgh where we were headed anyway. I foolishly thought we'd arrive at 9:30, get geared up and hit a 10:00 lesson. Little did I know that EVERYONE else seemed to have that same plan. With one solitary cashier, it took over an hour just to get our equipment and find out way around. We also discovered we needed to buy ski goggles and fortunately I also bought us each a pair of toe and hand warmers. The temperature was in the teens and I didn't want us to be cold and miserable. (It turned out we were perfectly comfortable!)

We missed the 11 am lesson so grabbed an early lunch then headed out for the 12:00 noon group. We had a great teacher, Austin, and were paired up with another mom-son duo. We headed to the bunny slope and learned to glide, skate, then finally snowboard. Or at least our best imitation of snowboarding. That slope had a "magic carpet" lift that is essentially a rubber moving sidewalk that carries you back to the top. Eventually we graduated to the chair lift and tried a few other slopes.

Grant did a great job and was game without being reckless. He absolutely loved it and is already bugging me about when he can go back. I enjoyed it, but it's a lot of effort just to get to the slopes. I'll take running. The shoes go on and off you go! We'll see what we can do to satisfy Grant's need.

The "magic carpet" lift.

This was taken when the moms bailed and let the instructor (red hood) take the two boys down a slightly steeper slope. Pretty comical!!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

And.....he's OFF!

Spencer and Oma left for Germany today! Spencer was packed all perfectly organized and neat with everything in its place. I'm sure that lasted mere moments, but at least I felt good knowing I did my part. What amazes me is that it all fit, with room to spare, in a not-very-big suitcase, backpack, and small travel organizer. How cool is THAT?

They flew out of Roanoke to Chicago then direct to Germany with one more small hop in Germany.