Thursday, June 29, 2006

Eric's on Vacation

Well, he'd tell you it isn't a vacation. I think it sounds like he's having a lot of fun hanging around Stanford and learning about the Great Depression and the politics and effects of the time period. Yesterday they had a field trip to San Francisco and toured a few different places. The original plan was that the whole family would go and the kids and I would go visit my aunts, uncles, cousins, and Grandmother who don't live all that far from there. Unfortunately we just couldn't afford it. There will be other times, though, I'm sure.

Sam fell asleep for a late nap, just as I was pulling a pizza out of the oven. I thought I needed a fast dinner, he seemed hungry, so I bought a cheap pizza when I was buying a gallon of milk at the gas station. I put his dinner in the fridge. He can have it if he wakes up, but I'm thinking he might just be down for the count. Awyn is sitting beside me causing trouble. She was just over standing on top of the toddler table by the book case. Maybe I'll post a picture.

Today we went to the play ground so Sam could play with some other kids and I could get the keys for my classroom. I'd like to go do some setting up before I start teaching on Wednesday. I officially take over summer school on the 5th of July. We're going to do a newspaper unit. I'm appointing kids to be reporters, editors, publishers, photographers, and even a cartoonist. I'm not thinking about doing this all on the computer, in fact I was actually going to make them write it out on paper, and post it in columns on the wall. My goal isn't computer literacy, it's English composition and handwriting, and maybe a little science and math worked in. Anyone can learn to type and let a computer fix the spelling and grammar. This is supposed to be an enrichment program, so I'm going to work at it. Now I just need to decide if I let the kids elect each other, or just assign them, or rotate assignments. It's only for 4 weeks, and a few of them are going on vacations and there will be some coming and going of this group. I'm looking forward to it. It's supposed to be K-8, but I think it's mostly 5th graders and a few younger kids, including one incoming kindergartner.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Could you pass?

MSNBC has an immigration quiz, based on the questions asked of those applying for US citizenship. The actual test is oral, not multiple choice, but they've taken pity on us poor slobs used to being given the answer before guessing. I missed only one, and it was #19, the one on what form you fill out to apply for citizenship. I was forced to guess on that one.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Awyn wins!

I wish I'd had our picture taken together, but I didn't think of it at the time. We went to a summer solstice fair on Wednesday. Eric unfortunately had an evening program and wasn't able to go with us. Our friend Cassandra went with us too. There were too many things to do for us to do all of them, especially as chasing Sam occupied the bulk of the evening.

There was a costume contest, and Awyn won the kid's prize. I, in my mid-Victorian underwear, lost out to the Earth people. Who can top a scantily clad green-mud-daubed couple wearing some outrageous tiki-style hats with enourmous palm fronds? Not me, and I knew I didn't stand a chance once they showed up. Up until then, I think we had a mother-daughter lock on the whole thing. Awyn won chalk. I was playing for the adult-appreciated weekend at a local spa. Of course, the mud-people were perhaps more solstice-themed, besides being extremely daring and nearly naked. I merely ransacked my closet looking for my living history clothes. Yesterday I was called by a photographer who was submitting pictures to a local paper. She apparently has a nice shot of Awyn, who was chasing bubbles and dogs around the dance floor. She asked me why I chose that outfit for her. I didn't want to admit that it was chosen because it was hanging in the closet, and Sam had only worn it once, for one event, and it happened to fit Awyn. I did have to alter it a bit; I cut the long train off and hemmed it and added a tuck so she could walk. It was an infant dress that fit Sam at around 6-7 months old, pre-mobility. So I told her that I thought that I thought people in the 18th and early 19th century were more likely to celebrate a summer solstice with parties and fairs and flowers. Or something like that. I'm not sure how convinced she was. Posted by Picasa

He can Fly!

Sam really liked the bouncy castle at the Solstice celebration. Posted by Picasa

Super Sam!

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day

We've been making the Father's Day phone calls. Just in case we miss somebody, happy Father's Day to all you fathers out there. We didn't do anything special, although we did go up to the lodge for supper. Now the kids are giving us a hard time about going to sleep. Eric finally got Awyn down, but Sam is keeping himself awake just in case he was going to miss something.

Tree Correction

For some reason I called this tree a mesquite. It obviously is not. It is instead a desert willow. So I'm posting a second picture of the slightly duller p-bird. As I say in another post, I don't know if this one is female, immature, or just less bright. I'm not that good at identifying bird. The P-bird, or pyrrhuloxia, is one of my favorites here in the park. They fill my need for cardinals. I love cardinals, and they are the bird I miss the most from Arkansas. Yes, if I go down to Rio Grande Village, I can find a cardinal, but I remember entire flocks of bright red cardinals at Arkansas Post National Memorial. Posted by Picasa

Playhouse envy

Sam really liked his friend's new playhouse. They really did a neat job in building a big play structure. Posted by Picasa

Old Time Awyn

I was going through Sam's old historic clothing trying to find something that might work for the upcoming solstice celebration. There's a costume contest, and I don't have enough time to do much more than alter some existing outfits. I'm searching my own wardrobe to see what I have that's appropriate. Unless I can whip up a robe or something, Sam's out of luck. Posted by Picasa


I see lots of wildlife while sitting in what is informally referred to as, "the taco stand". Mostly birds, but sometimes a coyote will walk through the lane. (I don't charge an entrance fee if you live here, so the coyote is exempt). I've seen a fox, javelina, road runners or paisanos (the last one had a baby lizard in its mouth.) and the rare deer. I couldn't help trying to catch a picture here, although I'm not sure how good these really are. The first two are the same bird, the third is probably a juvenile or female, and they hang out together a lot in the mesquite tree in front of the entrance station. Posted by Picasa

Grey Cardinal

This fellow (I'm guessing) was pretty cocky yesterday at work, so I took a few pictures through the window. Posted by Picasa


Immature pyrrhuloxia? This one is less shy than the other, but they have been showing up outside the window every day around lunch time. Not sure what they are waiting for. Posted by Picasa

Dentist - Good or Bad?

Last week we all went to the dentist. Well, Awyn is underage, so she only had to wait in the lobby. This was Sam's first dentist appointment. He wasn't thrilled. I had to hold him on my lap, and the dental technician held his head still while the dentist pried his mouth open to examine his teeth. Sam's teeth are in good shape, for which I am glad on more than one level. Beyond the physics of it all (he'd have to be sedated for ANY kind of work) our dental coverage is less than stellar.

Everyone assumes that government employees get great benefits. To a certain extent, this is true; our maternity coverage is fantastic, and our deductible is not too high. We also have a nice prescription benefit. What they don't cover: dental and optical. That means they don't pay for glasses, eye exams, or root canals. Eric and I both need root canals, and I need a few more fillings.

So we're scrapping all plans to head back to Washington so that we can pay on the loan we've taken out to cover our dental needs. It looks like any vacation we do this year will be extremely local, like heading up to swim at Balmorhea and camping in our backyard. Lucky for us, there really is a lot to do out here, and it's not too expensive. We might head over to San Antonio, as I've never been. Eric's parents are talking about meeting us in Carlsbad, NM. The caves there are a lot of fun, and I'd like to see the bat flights.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Splish Splash

Hey, they're adorable. They love baths. Posted by Picasa

Taking a Bath

Awyn has discovered she can drink from a running tap. She is so weird! Posted by Picasa

Darn software

OK, now I've already typed this twice, so I'm done with being cute. Sam learned how to 'paint' with the mouse on the computer. He loves to paint pictures from the official Thomas website. He's now potty training under mostly his own steam. He has decided he doesn't want to wear diapers anyway and is excited about underwear. He asks for them by name, Star Wars, Thomas, or Car (he calls these by other names too). We're going to look for Superman underwear after the dentist tomorrow. Sam gets his first dental appt! Posted by Picasa

Reading with Daddy

Awyn enjoys a book with Daddy. This book is one of Eric's history books off the shelf behind them. Awyn is fascinated by her father's books. Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 05, 2006

Videos of my kids

I couldn't decide which one I liked better, so you are getting them both. Awyn is walking better and better all the time. She and Sam love our robot vacuum, and will clean up the toys just so we will get it out. Our carpet has never been this clean. So the noise in the background is our roomba. The plastic hat Awyn carries around and puts on her head belongs to Sam's Woody doll.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Make The Connection

I'm posting this link because I think this is something important. Ordering one of these bracelet kits supports the fight against cervical cancer. You get two per kit, and it's free. I don't intend to e-mail this around or spam people with it, I'm simply posting it on my blog.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

I want a Trek Fest!

The other day I did a search for Star Trek conventions. I thought that maybe there would be something in one of the almost nearby cities that we could attend. Let me remind you, we don't have enough money for a real vacation or a visit back home yet, so I though that we might be able to swing a weekend at a hotel surrounded by a bunch of wierdos, as we are as wierd as any of 'em. (Should Awyn be a tribble or just an ensign?) (Sam would go as Captain Kirk, with his boyish good looks and commanding personality)

Here's what I didn't take into account: This year is #40. Yep, it's the 40th anniversary of Star Trek, and you bet there are some serious parties going on. And the big one is in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the Las Vegas Hilton. Another name for the Hilton? Star Trek the Experience, hence the convention site selection. We are talking probably the biggest convention ever, and it's being hosted by Creation Conventions. If you know anything about Cons, these guys are the biggies, and they are also the most expensive. To take the whole family to this convention we'd be out over $1000. The daily passes would add up to over $300 each, and the different meals and events were $70 each. I have to admit, the photo ops with the actors were tempting, William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy were $70 each to stand with for pictures. Other actors cost a little less, and some group shots are also available. How many of you knew that Deforest Kelley was a serious contender as a name for our first born son? Or that Ziyal was slated to be Awyn's middle name? So we chickened out, but both Eric and I will always remember.

Is it tempting, you betcha. I am indeed a Trekkie, and yes, I'm a total geek. Other women who see my video collection assume that is all Eric, all that Star Trek stuff. Nope, it's both of us. Does Eric own all three seasons of TOS on DVD? No, WE own them. As well as Next Generation (well, we still need season 7, shhh, it's coming out for cheapsies in another month or so) And all of DS9 too, and all of the movies. Most of the movies we have the director's editions, with the exception of #5, and well, I own it because I feel obligated to own it, it just really isn't very good, there is so much that would have improved it. Favorite movie? Well, that is a 3 way tie for me. I love Wrath of Khan and Undiscovered Country, and The Voyage Home will always hold a schlocky spot in my heart. Haven't made up my mind about the newer movies. I don't think Generations was the fiasco it gets made out to be, and I like Insurrection, for all the panning it got, it was true to the series and general star trek theme. Schlock is a part of Star Trek, and it always will be.

Star Trek XI is in the works, with a projected release date of late 2008. Currently no Star Trek spin-off series is in production, with the studio saying Star Trek Fatigue and us fans saying, bah, you're too cheap to continue quality series. Enterprise was getting good, really good, when the plug was pulled. And to repeat a line from George Takei's autobiography, inaccurately quoted, "it's quality, and therefore doomed." Of course, I think he was smelling quality, so something along those lines. Quality sci-fi is doomed nowadays. I mean, they killed Firefly, and that was the best new series to come along in many many years. Fans made a movie a reality after they were unable to get the show back into production, much like the original Star Trek fans were able to get a 3rd season of TOS. Fanatic=Fan=Trekkie.

I was recently asked how my life had changed after having kids, or if there's anything I miss from my child-less years. I was unable to coherently answer the question, so I copped out and said, gee, I can't think of anything, that was so long ago. Honestly? If we didn't have kids we'd be at this convention, complete with our own costumes and make-up. I think that says it all.

Awyn's Hat Dance

While moving chairs for vacuuming, we found Woody's hat. Awyn couldn't resist doing a hat dance. Posted by Picasa


Awyn continues her hat dance. Posted by Picasa

This Chair was make for Napping

Ok, here we go again. I am having serious posting issues!

Even Sam can't resist the siren call of Sparky, the wonder-rocker. He climbed in, snuggled with his blankie and helicopter, and our drooling 3 year-old goes down for the count. Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 02, 2006

It's a Play Date

Sam went to Ciara's house, and Aidan came to our house, and a good time was had by all. I think maybe Angelina got a bit of a raw deal, as I got naps from the babies halfway through, and she had to entertain the big kids. Sam loved painting, and made some great posters. Posted by Picasa

This chair is made for snuggles

Every baby has to try out the wonderful rocking chair! Posted by Picasa

This chair is made for napping

After an hour of their playdate, both babies were tired, and Awyn crawled up into her rocker and passed out. Posted by Picasa

Sam on the Lost Mine Trail

Eric was feeling adventurous and took both kids hiking while I was at work. They climbed the Lost Mine Trail. I think they all had fun, although Eric did say something about using dried mango as a carrot to lure Sam along. Posted by Picasa

ARGH! darned blog

This is the third try for posting this photo, and I'm forgetting what I wrote the first two times. Awyn loves her new red dress from her cousin Hilary. She also likes olive fingers and nibbling the olives slowly off of each finger. As no whole olive is going into her mouth, it's lots of fun. Posted by Picasa