Sunday, August 26, 2012

wet or dry

On Saturday we continued our recent tradition of visiting nice parks.  This week's destination was Homer Lake, which was upgraded this summer with a natural playscape that includes a stream with adjustable flow and a small sandy beach.  Highly recommended.
We didn't read the rules carefully before jumping right into the fun.  If you look carefully, you will see that we were breaking of them.  Shoes are required, so next time we'll bring our water shoes.
What can we say about Janny?  She says 'no' to everything even when the answer is yes.  She yells and squeals when she wants something (we are working really hard to break this habit).  She says all done after eating but will always eat at least 2 more bites as we move to pick her up.  She is fearless in her love of climbing.  She puts handfuls of dirt or wet sand in her mouth maybe just to see our reaction.  She sings "ba-ba-ba" at the top of her voice when she's riding in the bike trailer, and her smile is maybe the sweetest thing on the planet.
After playing around with potty training for several months, Jill put Clara on the potty regimen this week.  The first day was rough.  Somehow, Clara managed to poop 5 times in her undies (or only 4 if you don't count the one that rolled onto the floor).  Icky.  Since then no accidents.  #1 and #2 always end up in the potty.  We rejoice.

We visited Clara's preschool this week.  She knows that she'll be going when she turns 3.  Every day she claims to be 3.

Clara loves to try on 'princess dresses'.  When we are walking near a street she demands that we pick up Janny, saying, 'I'm very worried about Janny.'
The job search is getting off the ground.  The first two jobs that I investigated suggested that I could be paid  $90k and $40k per year, respectively.  So that's settled.  My approach to date has been to ask people I know if they know of anything.  So far, not too many bites on that end.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

St. Louis

We drove to St. Louis on Wed to meet friend from my youth Rick.  Rick loves baseball more than anyone I know -- he works for and takes vacations to watch baseball games in person (He gets to the stadium when the gates open to watch bp.  He gave one of his 6 bp home run balls to Clara.).  I'm proud to say that I once watched a game in a stadium he'll never match -- Montreal!

We picked a good game to watch, or mostly watch.  A 1-year-old and a 2-year-old in the bleachers need vigilant supervision (or ours do at least).  However, it was through no fault of Clara's that a guy in front of us spilled his beer on her bunny.  The Cards beat the Dbacks 5-2.  Clara and I were walking down a staircase when a Cardinal hit a home run.  All the girls went back to the hotel in the 7th inning.  
We stayed at the Millenium hotel which is located between the arch and the stadium.  On Thursday morning we swam in the pool and looked at the arch.
I'm getting a Manu Ginobli bald spot.
After lunch with Rick at a nice pasta restaurant, we wandered around downtown.
We waited out the super thunderstorm in a McDonalds in Vandalia, eventually getting home to some cheese, peas, and apples.
Finally, our church softball league concluded this week.  We were undefeated prior to the championship game and led by 1 run going to the last inning.  The red guys scored 4 runs in the top of the inning.  With 2 outs and a man on first, I came up to bat (having gone 1 for 3 so far) and grounded out to 2nd.  Ugh.  I was surprised how bad I felt after the game.  Generally, I don't take softball results seriously (it's softball after all!).  Probably we would have won if I got a couple more hits, and making the last out of the year is a real drag.

My hitting was super inconsistent this year.  I had a couple really good games and a couple really bad games (including the championship) mixed together with mediocrity.

After the game, a red guy asked me if we were missing any players, an indirect way of asking how we had been undefeated.  I didn't punch him.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

much riding

The big theme for today's post is the riding of bicycles.  Back before we had tiny kids, the riding of bikes was a regular occurrence.  Riding 70 miles in one weekend wouldn't raise a brow.  But now, this is cause for much celebration.  How did it happen?  Like this.

The family all drove out to the Middle Fork forest preserve for some quality outdoor time.  Jill has been wanting to do a hike for some time, so we made sure do this second (after playing on the playground).  After lunch, we put swimsuits on and waded and sat in the 'swimming area' of the 'swimming' pond.  Quotes included because the water was no deeper than 2 feet.  With small kids that can't swim, this is the ideal depth.

After cleaning up, I took my bike out of the trunk and rode while Jill drove the girls home.  A number of signs advertised the crop insurance holder for sad looking corn fields.  There is also a huge amount of construction for a 200 MW wind farm along California ridge, so named due to its towering 20 or so feet above the rest of the region.  It will have 134 wind turbines with 1.6 MW capacity. Roads used for construction have been heavily gravelized, so I fancied myself Belgian and hammered away in the big ring.  
Before church today I joined Michael and Kyle to ride over to the Wild Card ride. I hadn't planned to ride quite so far, so I had to borrow a granola bar from Michael on the way home.  Guess who won the sprint into Pesotum?  ME!  I also got home late, so we missed the first 15 minutes of church.  Photo above by Paul, who also led out the sprint.

We learned some interesting traffic rules as a result of getting stopped by a police man on Mattis this morning.  Michael, Kyle, and I were all riding side by side in the right lane (of the 4 lane road) when a policeman stopped us and told us not to take up the whole lane and to ride to the right side of the road.  Interestingly, according to the law, 2 riders may ride side-by-side (but not 3), and 1 or 2 riders may take a whole lane.  So we were breaking the law, but only sort of.  The whole thing is silly anyway as the police car was the only car on the road at 7:40 Sunday morning.
Since biking is still on my mind, here is the team photo from camp this spring taken by Ryan near Giant City.
And finally, the mass of bikes ridden to Dairy Barn for the second night ride (photo by Gary).  Something like 70 people were in the group, including Jill, me and the two youngest participants at 1 yr and 2 yrs.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

always looking

Unless something of a minor miracle happens within the next 4 months, I will be on the job market by the end of the year.  My supervisor and I are waiting to hear back on a couple of proposals and a current very small project could possibly be extended to a much larger effort.  I'd guess the odds for any of those things happening are about 5% at most.  This is rather frustrating, but I'm resolving to stiffen the upper lip, as Bertie Wooster would say.  

I'm beginning to think of myself as a freelance engineer.  Is that an oxymoron?
This summer has been absurdly dry.  A few weeks ago we visited Kickapoo and played in the Middle Fork.  Normally, one would see canoes paddling along the river, but no one was out there.  If they tried, there would be more portaging that paddling.
 But for little and big kids alike, the river still offers much fun.  Fish seem to be stuck in the deeper sections of water, so they are easy to spot and chase.  And dam building is always a good time.
We are hoping to get Clara potty trained before preschool starts (she'll start right after her 3rd birthday), but she is not interested.
Janny's teeth are coming in fast and furious lately, and she has frequently been furious as a result.  Or maybe it's because Clara keeps stealing her toys.  She has lots of words now, but her favorite is 'no', which sounds more like 'noooooooh'.  My favorites are momma and dadda.  She has a special way of saying Clara, but I can't quite parse it out.
On Friday night, we went to the outdoor summer concert to hear the Giving Tree Band (whose CDs are made from recycled stuff and inks are natural or something).  They were great.  Jill and Clara had a blast dancing with the big crowd in front.