Thursday, April 30, 2015

Tyler's baseball

Tyler is having a great experience with baseball.  He is naturally gifted and seems to understand how the game works.  He plays short stop the most and at his last game, at Adams Middle School, he made four outs and three runs.  The best out was where he realized he needed to tag out the runner.  He got this look of sheer determination in his eyes and I've never seen him run faster.  His will to tag-out the runner outweighed his physical limitation, so he chased the kid back to first and tagged him out.  I was pleased.  He also doesn't stress about how he performs, so even when he drops it or strikes out he doesn't cry.  He hardly ever strikes out, though.

Pop, Heather, Jason and their kids came to the game.  We had pizza and it was fun.

Go, Tyler!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Inaugural barbecue

Heidi's birthday was on Wednesday.  She bought herself some presents on craigslist:  A Wii with 16 games, 3 remotes and 2 accessories, a used Weber propane barbecue, and a lifetime plastic table with eight chairs.  I got her a scanner and her dad got her a bunch of dishes from Sur la Table.   We invited the Roos and the Olsons for a barbecue on Friday.  It was super fun.  The barbecue worked well and we enjoyed each others' company.  Heidi likes entertaining in the new house.  

The Wii was a hit.

That's the chandelier I installed last week.  Nice.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Our crazy weekend

I don't have many weekdays off, so when I have a day off, we usually leave town.  Friday we went down to the Santa Cruz area with all the camping stuff.  Heidi had contacted several places about availability and whether or not we could show up without a reservation.

Well, to make a long story short, there was no availability in three of the places we selected.  We made the most of it, though.

We hung out at Sunset Beach in Watsonville for a few hours.  The water was chilly but the kids enjoyed it.

Kids digging holes.  Timeless entertainment.

Then I got real bad allergies and I already had a headache.  Heidi got a migraine, so we decided to just go home.  There was a grand piano I wanted to check out in Santa Cruz, so we made arrangements to view it on our way home.  I had to pull over so Heidi could throw up and then I checked out the piano.

I drove until the bottom of Vasco road and then needed Heidi to drive because I was too exhausted.  The next morning, I took Tyler to baseball.  He got a hit and played well even though the last game was better since he made two outs and scored a run.

Victor invited us out on his boat, and I was pretty stoked about that, because a bad day on the boat beats a good day at work.  We put in at Orwood and headed to Ski beach.

This is at ski beach.  After we dropped off Heidi and Caira, we went back out to run the tube.  The kids got in the tube but the boat wouldn't start.  There wasn't enough juice in either battery.  We flagged down the huge jet boat with the supercharged 427 and he gave us a Matco jump pack, which was a paperback book-sized lithium battery.  The boat started and we went back to camp to allow time for the batteries to recharge.

Well, after a few minutes, the engine died and both batteries were dead again.  We jump started it from a different boat and I noticed the voltage gauge wasn't working.  I told Victor that the alternator must be bad.  We packed up camp and headed back to the marina, but the engine cut out and we were stranded about five miles from it.

We let the kids play in the tube and I swam a little bit while we waited for the tow boat.  It was still a fun time even though Victor was pretty upset.  I told him about the "adventures" we had had while boating.  You know, the time the boat caught on fire and burned down, or the time the van's radiator fan lost a blade, which severed some belts and punctured the radiator.  Dad had to replace those components in the parking lot of a Utah K-mart.

Or there was the time on the way home from Lake Powell that the Suburban's idler pulley failed and the Suburban overheated.  Or the time we were trailering the boat to Flathead Lake in Montana and the bearing buddy flew off.  We had to remove one of the wheels, chain up the axle, and drive into Missoula on three wheels.

Victor was not prepared for the commitment of a boat and I thought, "That's why you see so many nice boats for sale on craigslist.  People underestimate the money commitment and want to get out of it entirely."

Finally we got towed in for $682, and we drove back home.  I helped Victor with the alternator removal and as we took off the electrical connectors, I saw that one of them was completely corroded.  I said, "That has to be the problem.  We can test it."  I fetched my custom-built alligator leads, hooked up the alternator again, connected the hose to the water inlet, put my battery charger on 110 amp, and started the engine.  It fired up, the gauge read 13.8 volts, and my theory was proven correct.  Victor was relieved but still upset at having spent so much money on the boat's second voyage.  For me, it was just routine maintenance, but I'm also used to having things fail.  Heidi commented that the boating crowd was pretty chill and willing to help.  I said, "The seasoned boaters are willing to help because they've been in distress at some point.  What goes around comes around."

Victor went to purchase a new connector and Heidi and I went to stake conference.

This morning, the boat was gone, and I am pretty sure it's gonna work.

Now I thought you would like to see some pictures of our home.

This is our family room, as seen from the kitchen.  

The living room, as seen from the front door.  

Kira's room

Master bedroom.  

 Kids' playroom
Boys room.

People have wondered where we got our furniture.  Well, every single piece of furniture in this home is second-hand and I'm proud of it.  Most is from craigslist.  The sectional couch, flat screen TV, wall artwork and media console in the kids room is from Heidi's sister, Heather.  Even the lamps and end tables were from craigslist.  Heidi has picked up most of the stuff and we've been all over the bay area, from Redwood City to San Francisco, Berkeley to Montclair, Tiburon to San Ramon.

Sadly, Brentwood doesn't have much good stuff on craigslist.  Maybe it's the socio-economics.  Maybe it's because it's a younger community.  But we're happy to drive 100 miles to save $1000.  The kitchen table, in fact, was two hours of my time to drive to Union City and back, but it saved us about $1300.  There are several reasons we get everything on craigslist:
1.  High quality stuff is a fraction of the price.
2.  Keeps stuff out of the landfill
3.  Things are already used, so there are signs of usage.  Then, when the kids mark things up, it's not so stressful.
4.  Once you're done, you just repost it on craigslist.  I have sold over 200 items on craigslist.

We are excited about our home.  I'm moving the chandelier from the living room to the kitchen.  I cut a hole in the ceiling and still have to string some cable, then attach the joist-spanner.  I'm a little over 1/3 done.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Parker Update

Parker is such a great baby!!  He is 3 weeks old and doing great.  He is a good eater, up to 9 pounds at his 2 week check up and we are so in love with him.  The kids love to hold him.  Scott attempts at diaper changes, Kira strokes him and holds him and Tyler is so sweet with him.  Blake calls him Baby Parker and loves him but is acting out quite a bit which could be a result of not being the baby or moving or turning into a strong willed 3 year old.

Parker sleeps most of the time.  He makes noises and grunts when he is up and loves to look around. He will sleep through anything and anywhere.  We went to the jelly belly factory when he was a couple of days old because the kids were on break and he did great.  He hangs out at the park, my work and is held and adored by all. He is an easy addition to the family.  He sleeps pretty well at night.  Is usually up 3-4 times at night which is pretty typical of my kids.

So grateful for all the help we have received.  I realize with every kid I am more and more willing to receive help and how grateful I am for my friends who love him, hold him and help me.

We just adore him.

My labor was pretty easy.  Danny gave an update and here is my version.  I decided to go the hospital around 2 because I was having back pain and just didn't feel great.  When I got there, I was a 4 and my blood pressure was too high so they admitted me.  Had a hysterical OB who wanted to break my water and have the baby in 30 minutes but after consulting with the pediatrician decided to give me my 4 hours of antibiotics for group b strep.  So we walked around the halls trying to get me to progress, but I knew that nothing eventful would happen until my water broke.

4 hours later I was a 5, had my full dose of antibiotics and the doctor came to break my water.  I asked for an epidural which he thought I didn't need because I would have the baby in no time from my history.  I asked him if he ever went from a 5-10 in 30 minutes which he said I could do but which I didn't want to do without drugs.  In came the anethesiologist which I thought paralyzed me.  Sharp, shooting, horrible pain in my leg.  Half my body got numb and my legs were so numb but my other side wasn't numb.  I was just glad sharp pain went away.

About 30 minutes later doctor came in to say I was ready to have the baby.  I had to push for what seemed like forever (probably 15 minutes) and had the baby.  Nobody had sympathy when Danny and were saying that this was way longer pushing than past babies because it was still pretty quick but I could feel nothing.

Afterwards, Parker was great.  He fed great.  He looked great.  I felt great except for annoying numbness which eventually wore off.  My pain was minimal.  I took a shower that morning which always makes me feel so good and was ready to leave.  My ob released me but I needed to wait until 4pm to get his bilirubin blood work before pediatrician released him. Everything went well that day.  Our nurse was one of Danny's patients moms so that was kind of fun getting to know her.

Everything is great with Parker.  He will have an echo at 3-4 months to make sure is heart doesn't have any minor defects.  He will meet with a urologist at around 4-6 months because he has a condition called hypospadias. His urinary tract is not totally centered so a urologist needs to look at it and decide if he should circumcise or repair.  Everyone who has looked at it thinks they might just leave it because it is pretty minimal but we shall see.  It is always amazing at all the minor things that can go right or wrong when a baby is forming.  I guess this is the number 2 birth defect in boys occurring in 1/300 boys.  Hearts is probably #1.  After reading literature on it, so grateful and fortunate it is not more severe.  We feel very blessed for his health and for great doctors in our area.