Phamily Foto Phriday 12-2-16

I know it’s been a few weeks. If you notice I haven’t had many updates lately. Hoping to get things turned around here. Let’s start off with a look back.

When I arrived to pick the kids up from school a while ago they were all in an assembly, so I was going to snap pictures of them and send them to Laura. As Dela came by she…


As she walked past she turned around and said “You’re going to put this on your blog, aren’t you?” Well, I wasn’t, but now, yeah.


Ciaran followed close behind.


At several points in the last few weeks the cusions have been used for various forts.


Another time while waiting for August at school pick up, Ciaran and Xavier were hrdling over their backpacks, so Dela had set up some other obstacles for them. Here is Ciaran jumping over the stack.


And Xavier.


Grace is 3 months old now.

2016-dec-2-06Remember a little while ago when we went to Halloween Day Camp? Here are Xavier and Ciaran (along with the other attendeees from the Cub Scout pack) getting recognized.



Family picture time. Yes, that’s Kyle showing up!


We played a couple rounds of Xavier’s favorite game. He came VERY close to beating me.


Ciaran also got in on the action.


I was able to chaperone the 7th grade field trip to what is now named MOPOP (Museum Of Popular Culture – formerly Experience Music Project). One of the areas allows for jamming together on musical instruments. I was on guitar and August went to the other side of the booth and worked on drums.


Also on the same field trip we were able to visit the Chihuly Garden And Glass Museum.




Over Thanksgiving break Marianne came back out. One night we went out to dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory before it closes down for good later this month.


I love this picture of Xavier.


Here is Tevye being fabulous. Note the boots.



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November 2016 Geek Fuel

A few days ago August’s monthly Geek Fuel box arrived. While some of the months have been pretty hit-or-miss, this one contained some of the best surprises.

First up was the Geek Fuel mascot as a pin that resembles a certain iconic archaeologist.


Then there was the Guardian Of The Galaxy socks.


The mugs were certainly welcome – the Flash mug from a few of months ago accidentally broke just before this month’s Geek Fuel box arrived.



This month’s game is a sort of arcade style shoot ’em up.


Finally the shirt is cool, but not of interest to August. He is probably going to give it to one of his friends who watches “Futurama”.


Here is the video of the unboxing.

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Dance, Dance, Dance

I chaperoned my first middle school dance this past weekend.

Each of the catholic schools in the area take turns throughout the school year hosting dances for the middle school students. August has been to a couple of dances at other schools, and this past Friday evening it was his school’s turn to host.

Of course I took the opportunity to be involved as a parent chaperone.

It’s been over 30 years since I was at a middle school dance. Or any school dance for that matter. There were a couple of things that struck me as I watched these middle schoolers tackle the dance floor.

The first was how many of them were actively dancing.

I mean, most of the kids were actually in the middle of the floor in some form of undulation. Sure, there were some on the sides but not that many and they seemed to be resting or trying to talk to their friends before hitting the dance floor.

dan-middle-school-danceThis was in direct contract to what my memories of attending a middle school dance was like. There were people in the middle dancing, but not as many as were on the outskirts.

I wonder if it has anything to do with the nature of catholic versus public school.

This picture here is of me and my friend just “hanging out” and yes, that is a giant speaker between us. And I’m not wearing glasses because I was trying out contacts at the time.

And you wonder why I have early hearing loss.

The second thing that struck me as I watched these middle school kids endlessly dance was how much better the music was. Maybe not necessarily better (being a subjective matter), but better for dancing.

From what I remember of dances during my middle school years, there were songs by AC/DC, The Cars, The Police, Billy Joel, and Foreigner. This past Friday the kids were dancing to songs by Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, One Direction, and several others that I didn’t recognize because I’m old and not hip anymore.

What surprised me, however, was how excited these kids got when Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” came on. And they knew all the words. Are all of their dads listening to the same radio station I do?

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Halloween Camp 2016

This past weekend Xavier got to go on his first real Cub Scout outing – Halloween Day Camp. He and Ciárán were the only ones from their respective dens to go, but we did carpool with a couple of others from the pack.

Ciárán posed in the archway of the camp entrance, Xavier decided he was not going to until after we were halfway up the hill.


After checking in and the flag ceremony we moved on to our first station – crafts. Pumpkin painting is messy but certainly popular.


Then it was in line for BB guns. A long line. We waited over an hour.


By the time we got to the head of the line the boys were tired of waiting. They said they didn’t want to do it. I told them we waited over an hour in the rain to do this activity and they were going to do it regardless of whether or not they wanted to.


Of course they had fun and were glad they did it. Since Ciárán had earned his shooting sports badge I knew he was fine without direct supervision, which was good because it was Xavier’s first time. He did alright (only hitting the paper once) considering the conditions were cold and rainy.


After that we had our lunch. Which was provided by the camp, but without any vegetarian options (at least we were warned ahead of time) we brought our own.


Then it was on to the archery range. Another “first” for Xavier.


His favorite activity of the day.


Naturally Ciárán did pretty well.


Then it was on to home after a trek through the “haunted house”. A successful outing.


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Phamily Foto Phriday (11-4-16)

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. I’m not going to post pictures from Halloween or some of the other events that I posted since the last one.

Tevye has discovered the joys of playing in a laundry basket.


Xavier and Grace enjoying a quiet moment after dinner.


The cross country championships finally happened and August did well by not giving up. Dela had a hurt ankle so she didn’t run (and even missed a gymnastics session).


Still playing with laundry baskets.


Who’s cute?


While Xavier was participating in the final soccer scrimmage of the season Tevye played on the playground.


One day he played some play dough in the morning.


Another day he wanted to kick the soccer ball around.


The other day I tried cooking dinner with Grace strapped to me. It was not going well.




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October 2016 Geek Fuel

October’s Geek Fuel was a little bit of a mixed bag. It isn’t because of the quality of the contents, but more to do with the age and interests of the person receiving the subscription. Perhaps the best was the Firefly themed shirt.


The brain-shaped gummy candies were a hit.


I think this was a Game of Thrones inspired item. It is supposed to be a “dragon egg” container or toothbrush holder, depending on which lid is used.


Luckslinger is this month’s game and came paired with wooden dice. One of the die was chipped which is unfortunate. The game itself seems alright, if a bit inappropriate for kids.


Finally an action figure for a horror movie icon. Not something we need in the house.


Here is the video with August’s reactions as he opened up the box.

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Obligatory Post-Halloween Post (2016 Edition)

Last night was Halloween and our plans had to change because not everybody was feeling well. Nothing serious, but Grace was rather fussy. We had planned on putting her in her Seahawks onsie and having her be Russel Wilson’s love child as her costume but she just didn’t make it. The other kids did, however, get into costume.

Xavier chose Superman.


Tevye was the flamingo which just about every one of our kids was at this age.


We have gotten a lot of milage out of that costume.

Déla was…. I am not sure even she quite knew what/who she was.


Ciárán chose to be the Grim Reaper. Why? I don’t know.


I’m rather happy with the makeshift scyth I pulled together at the last minute. The spraypaint was still wet when I took that picture.

August went out with friends but I was hsent this group picture. There he is on the left, as Mega Man, a video game character.


Pumpkins? Yes, we finally did get around to getting them carved.

August found a Pokemon stencil on the internet, printed it out, and carved his own.


Dela also carved her own pumpkin this year.


She also carved Tevye’s.


That left me to carve two of them. Ciaran tried to carve his own but ulimately left it to me. He wanted the Tri-Force from the Legend Of Zelda video game series.


Finally, Xavier had his idea sketched out and I executed it (with only a couple of minor practical adjustments).


We didn’t get a major haul of candy, but certainly did get more than enough an a good time was had. Halloween 2016 was a success.

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Music Monday: Love And Rockets

I was introduced to Love And Rockets, really, in 1987, though I had heard a couple of songs before then. It was the video for “No New Tale To Tell” that got my attention.

I love the cardboard drum kit.

love-rockets-earth-sun-moonAnyway, so I picked up the band’s then current thrid album Earth, Sun, Moon and enjoyed it enough to pick up the band’s back catalog. Not right away of course, but by the time the band’s next album came out a couple of years later I was very much a welll-informed fan.

Love And Rockets’ sound evolved and changed quite a bit over the course of a few albums, and not just as a departure from their previous band (the three members were the instrumentalists in Bauhaus). There were more tinges of “electronica” and “pop” in the Love And Rockets sound with songs (at least initially) being a much quieter affair than the raucous and “goth” Bauhaus.

“If There’s A Heaven Above” (from Love And Rockets debut album Seventh Dream of A Teenage Heaven)

For the band’s second album many more standard rock elements were used. Their 1985 cover of The Temptations hit “Ball Of Confusion” was a standout from this period and exemplifies the direction the band was headed (and you can hear some of those traces in the song “No New Tall To Tell”).

“Yin And Yang (The Flowerpot Man)” (from the band’s second album Express)

It was 1989’s self-titled fourth album that yielded their biggest hit. Sadly, “So Alive” was good, but not one of their best songs by any stretch of the imagination. It is a shame that was Love And Rocket’s biggest success and could never live it down – the band’s record label even dropped them.

“No Big Deal” (from Love And Rockets)

Unfortunately Love And Rockets lost all of the momentum from their 4th album. Getting dropped from their record label was only part of the problem. It took 5 years for their next album to come out and by then the musical landscape had changed.


In between 1989 and 1994 there was a little phenomenon that was Nirvana.

love-rockets-hot-trip-heavenCertainly “alternative” bands were getting mainstream airplay but not all of them. Love And Rockets’ new record label didn’t know quite what to do with the band. Then there was the fact the band changed its sound again. Hot Trip To Heaven was the band’s fifth album, released (finally) in 1994 and sounded more aligned with the group’s debut than what had been more recently released.

“HIA – Dark Side Of The 12th Moon” (B-side to “Body And Soul” single from the album Hot Trip To Heaven)

Sweet F.A. released in 1996 saw the band return to a sound that most people would recognize, but further problems plagued Love And Rockets. The studio they were recording (and staying) in burned down. The record label released the album with no interest in promoting it and the band sort of languished.

“Sweet Lover Hangover” (from Sweet F.A.)

Released in 1998, Lift would be the final Love And Rockets album. It went in another direction again, retaining some of the band’s more rocking expressions and blending them with electronica. The sound was good, but not what longtime fans were expecting, and not what radio was playing. Having a relatively new and small record label didn’t help matters.

The band would spend much of 1998 touring with a reunited Bauhaus, so Love And Rockets didn’t help themselves much.

“Holy Fool” (from Lift, Love And Rockets seventh and final album)

And that is how the band ended. It just disappeared.

I should mention The Bubblemen, but will leave that for you to discover on your own.


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Bite Sized Updates

October has been…. busy. Difficult. A blur.


Grace is 2 months old. She is sleeping. This, more than anything, is what keeps everything from falling apart.

No, she’s not sleeping all the way through the night, but but close enough to it for us to get hours of consecutive sleep each night.

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grace-2-month-docGrace just had her 2 month check-up and weighed in at 13 pounds 7 ounces.

Each of the other kids at their respective two month check-ups were between 11 pounds 3 ounces and 11 pounds 14 ounces.


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The Cross Country Championship race was rescheduled, but the annual cross country pumpkin run got cancelled due to weather concerns.

This meant we had to buy our pumpkins at the store this year, something we had not done in quite a while.

More of an inconvenience than I had anticipated.

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Finding time to carve pumpkins has proven challenging. Part of this has to do with the fact the pumpkin run was cancelled so we didn’t pick up our pumpkins when we normally do,, but a week later. Then things were… busy.

Having a baby really throws your plans and schedule out the window.

You would think we would know this by now.

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2016-pumpkin-carvingThis year we are carving our pumpkins in two phases. The first was today with the kids home from school. We got all the insides scooped out and the gourds prepped for the actual carving. That will probably happen on Sunday, the day before Halloween.

I might be able to get a couple of them carved this evening depending on how things work out. It has taken me almost a week just to get this paltry blog post going, so obviously my time is not my own.

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Kids were home from school for a couple of days this week because of conferences. The bottom line is they are all doing well. Ciárán, however, is reading at a voracious rate and that is all he wants to do. His reading level is almost off the chart and he rushes through his work, exerting just above what seems to be the bare minimum of effort so he can be done with his work in order to read. And his grades are still good.

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Phamily Foto Phriday 10-21-16

It has been two weeks, I know, but things have been pretty crazy around the house. Xavier has been home almost all of this week sick (today he is finally feeling better and his temp dropped below 100) so it’s not like we haven’t been around, it’s just… been busy parenting instead of documenting. But I did manage to get a few pictures.

First we have the Ribbon Run, the last cross country race for the younger kids. The older kids have their championship meet shortly. Here is Xavier crossing the finish line.


That day Ciaran also ran.


Soccer season isn’t over yet…


Did you know you can get toddlers on Amazon Prime?



When I walk to the store this is my view now.


Tevye keeps trying to help keep the house clean. He is not very effective.


The middle school puts on a Halloween carnival and haunted house every year. Here is Dela with a couple of her make-up tests.


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