The iPad is Dolphin Safe

Sunday, April 11, 2010

2Dolphins on iPad
 Thanks Ryan for the picture!

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Posted by Dede at 8:40 PM 1 comments links to this post

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New Year, New House

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Rob hinted in a previous post that big changes were coming for 2010.   Well, we finally got Liam potty trained so we decided that, with all the money saved on Pull-Ups, we could afford to buy a new house!

So, after more than 17 years, dozens of coats of paint, several major renovation projects, and countless memories, we’ve actually said "goodbye" to our old home, packed up our stuff, and moved on down the road.   Scary?   More than you could know!   Kinda sad?   Yeah, it’s tough to imagine that the old house isn’t our home any longer.   Exciting?   Unbelievably!   Here’s the front of our new house:

front of new house


We did some prep work before the move-in and after nearly a full day of grueling wallpaper removal, we got Liam’s new room ready for paint — and in his favorite color, of course!

Liam’s room wallpaper removal


Liam’s blue room


With lots of help from Ryan, we finished painting Liam’s room, the office, the dining room ceiling and the living room before the big move.

Liam was very excited about helping to prepare for the move.   He couldn’t wait to box up his toys and put them with our other boxes.

Liam boxes up his toys


So on February 27th we officially moved into our new house. We couldn't have done it without the tireless help of Ryan, Martin & Adrian.   Thanks guys for giving up your Saturday to help us and thanks to Linda for loaning us your trailer!

The Move Crew


Stay tuned for more pictures as we finish unboxing and settling in at the house!
 

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A Round Dinnertime

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dede spotted this awesome video of a unique dolphin hunting technique that was recently showcased in the BBC "Life" series.   Aerial photography reveals how some ingenious bottlenose dolphins off of the Florida coast use their powerful tail flukes to create a ring of mud to trap fish in shallow waters.   The panicked fish jump out of the water away from the ring, right into the waiting mouths of the other dolphins in the hunting pod.   Interestingly, only one female in the pod creates these rings — always counter-clockwise — and she does it over & over until the whole pod is fed.


Kinda reminds me of another article about dolphins in southern Brazil hunting fish cooperatively with humans.   Now if we could just get people to work together as well as the dolphins do, how great would that be?
 

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New Year, New Car

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Rob predicted last month that 2010 would be a year of transitions.   And even before that, he hinted several months ago, that a big car change was afoot.

Still, its come as a huge shock to nearly everyone who knows me, that the Caliente era is coming to a close.   My beloved Volkswagen New Beetle Convertible was a fantastic, fun car for two, but not at all a good fit for three.   So, a couple of weeks ago we said "Hello" to our new, comfy, more family-oriented car (dubbed Rocket by Liam).

2010 Honda CR-V


Its a bit bittersweet, of course, knowing that this means a very sad "Goodbye" to my sweet little Cali, who sits dejected on the curb with a forlorn "For Sale" perched in her windshield.   (Call me for a price on an award-winning, sporty, fun, little car!)

Is this the first of more big changes to come in 2010?   Oh yes!   Stay tuned...
 

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Gotcha Day - 2 Year Anniversary

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Happy Gotcha Day, Liam!

I can’t believe its been 2 years already!   As many developments as the past year has brought, its hard to imagine what’s in store for us in the year to come.

Here’s what has become our traditional stairway comparison photos on Gotcha Day:

Liam’s Gotcha Day 2008 Liam’s Gotcha Day 2010


After dinner, the festivities continued with the traditional homemade Gotcha Day cupcakes!

Gotcha Day 2010 Cupcakes Gotcha Day 2010 Cupcakes Gotcha Day 2010 Cupcakes

 

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Posted by Dede at 9:19 PM 6 comments links to this post

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Thrifty Yet Nifty, Even After Fifty!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

In yesterday’s New Year’s post I noted that 2010 is destined to be an eventful year, loaded with all sorts of special occasions.   One such milestone is the 50th anniversary of one our favorite books — "Green Eggs and Ham."

Green Eggs and HamAfter writing "The Cat in the Hat" in 1955 using only 223 words, Theodor ("Ted") Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, bet his publisher Bennett Cerf $50 that he could write a book using only 50 words.   Seuss collected on the wager in 1960 with the publication of "Green Eggs and Ham" which did indeed use only 50 distinct words — of which, only one ("anywhere") has more than a single syllable.   This simplistic yet infectious book has become the 4th best-selling children’s hardcover book of all time.

Liam has a number of Dr. Seuss books, but this one is our favorite by far.   I especially enjoy acting out the exasperation felt by the story’s unnamed, flustered antagonist who is pestered relentlessly by the persistent Sam I Am!

Trivia:  To memorialize Dr. Seuss upon his death in 1991,
Reverend Jesse Jackson recited "Green Eggs and Ham"
during a Saturday Night Live Weekend Update segment.
 

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A New Decade Begins

Friday, January 01, 2010

Snoopy Happy New Year graphic


I expect 2010 will be a remarkable time of significant changes and happenings!   It’s the beginning of a hopeful new decade and this’ll undoubtedly be a year of many special milestones.   Dede & I wish you all a healthy & happy new year!
 

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Online Optics

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

eyeglasses


Dede & I had both been wanting to get some new eyeglasses for a few months now — we were both overdue for new ’scripts and the rough & tumble nature of being a toddler’s parents had taken its toll on our glasses.   (A nasty heel swipe to the nose in October was the last straw, so I bent my mangled glasses back into some facsimile of proper shape and made an appointment with my optometrist.)

Anyway, like us, many of you probably have often winced at the sky-high prices at the local EyeMasters, LensCrafters or other such "brick & mortar" eyeglass shops.   But you pry open your wallet, pony up the big bucks, and get what you need — at a very premium price.   And since Dede & I both started doing the bifocal bugaloo a couple of years ago, our glasses are all the more pricey.   But this time was different...

When we went looking for glasses to fit Liam last year, we couldn’t find a single store locally that carried a frame small enough to fit a 2 year old.   One shop did offer one pair of glasses that came close, but those were $130 just for the frame and didn’t feature springy hinges, flexy temples, or anything that would inspire us to believe that they’d hold up to a toddler’s torture.   But then another adoptive couple told us about Zenni Optical and the results couldn’t have been better!

So, when it came time for us to get some new specs, we decided to boldly venture into the world of online eyeglasses too!   I picked out a snazzy pair of light, rimless, frames with Transitions-style progressive (no-line) bifocal lenses, treated with anti-glare pixie-dust — all for under $100 shipped!   Dede opted for a half-rimless pair with progressive lenses and some funky plastic-framed sunglasses with a cool hibiscus design on the temples for less than $100 shipped!   That’s a fraction of what a single pair of similar glasses would cost locally!

Buying glasses sight unseen (rimshot) does seem like a daunting proposition, but once you break it down, it’s not too tough.   You just need the dimensions from glasses you own or a pair you like at a store.   For example, my previous frames were 53mm wide by 27mm tall, had a bridge width of 17mm, and temple length of 140mm.   So using those measurements as a guide when shopping online for my new glasses, I looked for a pair that closely matched so they’ fit well and be proportionate for my face.

So yeah, buying glasses online is a little intimidating at first but the incredibly low prices make it easy to venture into the unknown!

And it also helps that there’s a large and rapidly-growing subculture of glasses-wearers who use online optical shops.   Ira Mitchell’s excellent GlassyEyes.com website has a wealth of useful info specific to this.   The GlassyEyes forum is a hotbed of discussions where friendly & knowledgeable folks will help you ease into this new frontier with lots of anecdotal info & suggestions.   For example, having never gone "rimless" before, I was nervous about the thickness of the lens and one of the helpful guys posted a link to a handy Lens Thickness Calculator tool that put my mind at ease.

Update:   In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve gotta admit that those snazzy rimless frames sounded better than they actually worked out to be.   The temples were an Oakley-style straight-legged affair so they slid off nearly every time I bent over.   I don’t fault Zenni for this — I just chose a frame style that was too different and loosely-fitting than what I’m used to.   They’re still well worth having as a backup though.

And when we had Liam’s eyes checked a few weeks ago, his vision had changed enough that he needed new lenses.   But Zenni no longer carries the frame we bought for him last year or any other comparable childrens’ models.   So, based on the excellent reviews on GlassyEyes, we tried a very similar pair from Coastal Contacts.   Thanks to a fantastic half-off seasonal promotion, I bought new glasses for both Liam and myself for slightly under $50, they arrived a mere 8 days after I placed the order, and they’re great!

So, if you’re ready for some new glasses and are tired of getting robbed blind (rimshot) by the high-priced local retailers, I highly recommend trying one of the online stores.   At $35-50 for a pair of glasses, you can easily afford to experiment a little.
 

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Christmas 2009

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I hope everyone had a great Christmas this year and are enjoying your holidays!   I’m finally getting around to uploading our Christmas pictures and doing a blog post.

Nanny Karen arrived Christmas Eve and Liam was so excited that she was finally here.   He had no problem turning off Cars to go pick her up at the airport.   That’s a sign of true love!   Most times he won’t even stop to eat during that movie.

Liam was wiped out from all the excitement of the day that he fell asleep early on Christmas Eve and missed out on baking cookies for Santa.   Poor little guy held out as long as he could, but the driving around to look at Christmas lights just did him in by 7 P.M.

Since he went to bed so early, we expected him up early Christmas morning but he actually slept until about 8 A.M.   Needless to say, he was quite pleased to see that Santa had not forgot him and remembered everything on his list.   Luckily for us, his list didn’t change from day to day, and he consistently stuck with Mack the truck, Play-Doh and The Lawman (Sheriff), also from Cars.   Once he saw those under the tree, he was done and we had to work over the next 3 hours to get him to stop playing long enough to come open a few gifts at a time.

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First Christmas Concert

Monday, December 14, 2009

I’m a little late getting this posted but Liam performed at his first Christmas program last week.   He sang with all of the 3 year old’s at his daycare in front of their families.   After the program was over, the children joined their parents for lunch.

(For those of you reading this who’re still working on your adoption paperwork or are in the waiting stage, don’t give up, these sort of payoffs are countless!)

Needless to say, our little songbird was thrilled to see us in the audience and kept waving and saying "Hi Momma!" during the concert and my heart just melted seeing him up there so happy.   Check out his performance in the video below (he’s on the front row, on the far right in the blue vest):

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2 Years Ago Today...

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Today (December 3rd) marks our 2nd Metcha anniversary.   That is, it was two years ago today that we met our precious son for the first time in Podolsk, Russia.   I had no idea at the time how much that moment would change me forever and, just like the Grinch, my heart grew three sizes that day and hasn’t stopped growing since.

In the past two years, we’ve really become a family and our baby that we brought home is becoming an independent not-so-little boy.   I’m so proud of him and thankful every day that God chose us to be his parents.

Dec. 3, 2007
Metcha Day 2007

Dec. 2009

Family Xmas 2009

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Breakfast With Santa 2009

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Today was our company’s annual "Breakfast with Santa" which should really be called breakfast before Santa.

We arrived as they opened at 9:00 A.M. and were still number 71 (think Southwest Airlines boarding passes).   After we had our sausage biscuit breakfast and juice, we waited for the arrival of Santa and then began listening for our number group to be called so Liam could go see "The Man."

We finally made our way to the stage about 10:30 A.M. where fearless Liam hopped right up on Santa’s knee and told him what precisely he wanted for Christmas.   It’s a short list this year — Mack the truck (from Cars) and Play-Doh.

It was a fun morning and Liam had a chance to catch up on some playtime with some of friends he hadn’t seen in awhile.

Liam with Santa
Click the photo above to see more pictures!

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Posted by Dede at 9:41 PM 5 comments links to this post

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Snoopy vs. Red Baron Redux

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Snoopy WWI Flying Ace postage stampIf you know anything at all about me, you know that I love Snoopy.   So you can imagine how jazzed I was to learn about the eye-popping upcoming videogame Snoopy WWI Flying Ace. *

Autumn always rekindles fond memories of the great old Peanuts animated holiday "specials" we always watched as kids.   Snoopy’s heroic World War I fighter waged aerial battle and crossed imaginary wartime France as a downed pilot in Charles Shulz’s "It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" in October 1966.

Smart Bomb Interactive’s new game, scheduled for release in the 1st quarter of 2010 for all major consoles, once again pits Snoopy against Manfred von Richthofen, a.k.a. the Red Baron and the rest of those dastardly wartime Germans.   From the sneak preview trailer, it looks like they’ve certainly met their match!

If you can’t get enough of the Flying Ace, there’s even a Snoopy Flying Ace USB hub for your desktop.   Just plug the hub into your PC’s USB port and watch Snoopy & his faithful Sopwith Camel come alive!

And though you’ve probably seen it countless times, just how well do you know "It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown?"

* Okay, never mind that we don’t even own a game console — I can still get excited about a game, right?   Maybe this will push us over the edge?
 

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Halloween ’09 Highlights

Monday, November 02, 2009

Our 2nd Halloween with Liam was another eventful holiday!   It was the first time either Rob or Liam had ever carved a Jack-o’-Lantern.   The results were pretty good for a rookie effort:

Pumpkin carving


Here are more photos of the pumpkin carving.

For Liam’s costume this year, we pieced together a "Bob the Builder" outfit from borrowed work boots (Thanks Katherine!), a new pair of denim overalls & a flannel shirt found on eBay, and a toy toolbelt & hardhat from Amazon.com.   Then for his daycare’s "Barnyard Day" theme day, we just omitted the hardhat & toolbelt and renamed him "Farmer Kirby."   (Actually, the "Kirby" part was purely his own invention and we’re still not sure where it originated from.)

Liam in his Bob the Builder costume.


And you can see more photos from our ’09 Halloween here.

Finally, I never did get our pictures from Fiddlesticks Farms last weekend posted.   So just in case there weren’t already enough pictures in one post, here are a few shots from our fun October ’09 trip to Fiddlesticks Farms.
 

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iTunes Hero

Monday, October 26, 2009

iPhone jukeboxThinking back on the song "Juke Box Hero," I started wondering if that has any context with today’s music fans.   I mean really, a jukebox?   In this age of white earbuds, how many Gen Y or Zers have ever even touched a jukebox?

I fondly recall plunking coins into a flashy old Wurlitzer, watching the machine magically come to life, clicking and whirring as the Rube Goldberg-esqe mechanism whisked the 45 RPM records off the rack and plopped them gingerly down on the turntable, and finally hearing the slight hiss & crackle as the diamond needle met the black vinyl.   Man, that was something special!

(And who didn’t envy Fonzie’s special gift for knocking a temperamental jukebox into action with a quick, cool snap of the wrist?)

What got me thinking about this is a new album by Foreigner called Can’t Slow Down that was released just a few weeks ago.   It’s another Wal-Mart exclusive 3-disc set like last year’s Journey "Revelations."   Like the Journey release, this one features one disc of new material, a disc of 10 refreshed versions of some of the band’s classics (including "Juke Box Hero"), and a live concert DVD.

But the parallels don’t end there.   Foreigner’s new lead singer Kelly Hansen is to that band’ s original frontman Lou Gramm what Journey’s new Arnel Pineda is to Steve Perry.   Really.   He’s that close.   No he’s not exactly Lou any more than Arnel is a true Xerox of Steve, but the vocal style & flavor is so strikingly similar (especially on the studio recordings) that it’ll easily pass as the original singer’s sound for casual listeners.   Don’t believe me?   Compare the following classic hits as performed then vs. now:

  Hot Blooded - 1993

  Hot Blooded - 2009

  Urgent - 1993

  Urgent - 2009

Yeah, it is a little freaky for a guy who looks like he could be Steven Tyler’s cousin to sound like Lou Gramm.   And in continuing the comparisons to Journey, doesn’t rhythm guitarist & sax player Tom Gimbel (who coincidentally, used to tour with Steven Tyler’s Aerosmith!) look an awful lot like Neal Schon?

Anyway, the new material is good!   It may not be quite as punchy & raw as the late 70s / early 80s stuff when Foreigner first landed on the radio (and in jukeboxes!), but the new songs are certainly on-par with much of the group’s mid to late 80s stuff.   Several of these could easily be hits if the label works them right.   If you were a fan of Mick Jones & the boys back then, you’re going to air-drumming & whistling along with most of the songs on this new album.   Of course, it might’ve made more sense for them to remake "Juke Box Hero" as "iTunes Hero" — except that you can’t get the new album on iTunes...

If you give the new Foreigner a listen, post a comment!

By the way, bonus points go out to anyone who saw Foreigner’s original tour in ’85 that actually featured a giant inflatable jukebox.   Were you there?
 

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