Our first video of the little one.


So, raising a small child is no small task – as any parent who doesn’t retain the services of a nanny can tell you.  One of the few regrets I have at this point is my reading time is near kaput.  Zip.  Zero.  Non-existent.  I can pretty much only catch time when I’m traveling or in the unlikely combination of sleeping baby and no chores to do (yeah, right!).

What this means is I’m looking forward to an upcoming trip so I can finish a book I started several weeks ago and am only half way through – America’s Constitution: A Biography, by Akhil Reed Amar.  It’s a well written analysis of what the Constitution says/means and provides some great historical perspective.  I mean really, how often have you read the Constitution – NOT the first ten amendments?  Most people, myself included, focus more on those amendments than the meat of the Constitution that formulates the government, voting, etc.  It’s been an interesting read and I can’t wait to finish the last half.

The Mrs. and I, not yet even 30, have a strong obsession with retirement – specifically with building / renovating a house to our own desires. We’ve moved around so much in the past that we haven’t found the justification to spend the time, effort, and money on major remodels of any house we’ve owned. It just hasn’t been worth it. So instead, we surf the internet looking for land we could build on, but probably won’t buy. We buy books and magazines for architectural / layout / just-plain-neat ideas.

In general we’ll cycle through a low and high period of ‘Dream House’ contemplation every 3-4 months. Every cycle we refine, just a little bit, what features we want and what details we’re willing to sacrifice in order to keep the cost ‘reasonable’. We’re not looking for a 5,000 sqft house with Cape Cod beach front and a helo pad, but as a ‘forever home’ we aren’t exactly going economical in all aspects.

The basic idea is a house in the Northwest with ready access to infrastructure like major airports and Home Depot, preferably Portland. Approximate size of the house is 1,800 to 2,000 sqft. We got those numbers based on the space our current hobbies require and anticipating future growth to those hobbies once we retire (i.e. we MUST have a dedicated library). We’re fans of the Not So Big House concept, but aren’t going to take ‘smaller is better’ to the extreme.  An open floor plan is highly desired.

Just last week while reading the most recent Better Homes and Gardens magazine, we saw an article on a bungalow that sparked a new peak in the Dream Home frenzy. The bungalow was based on a plan created by The Bungalow Company – the name aptly describes what they do. After surfing their site for a while we determined that a) we’re big Arts and Crafts bungalow / cottage fans, and b) we found a plan that matches 80% of what we’ve talked about previously: The Manzanita (Option 1).

It’s bigger than we really want and obviously set up for a household of 4+ (by the time we retire ours will be 2), but we’re sure it can be massaged as necessary. The interior pictures are good – although their photographer needs to figure out how to adjust for windows in every shot so we can see more of the kitchen.

Our favorite details are 1) the laundry upstairs where the bedrooms are, 2) the wall cut-out in the stairs so people descending can see the fireplace in the living room, and 3) the nook in the kitchen that opens into the entry and living room – it looks like a perfect place for grandkids to work on a puzzle / play cards while dinner is being cooked.

So much fun to dream and plan. 🙂

A Merry Christmas and happy holiday to everyone.  I thought I’d pass on one of our holiday traditions.  On Christmas Eve the Mrs. and I settle into a cooking frenzy in anticipation of Christmas brunch and our annual Christmas Eve dinner – mac & cheese and hotdogs.  After making a breakfast casserole for the next day we toil on a gourmet mac and cheese dish with a garnish of hot dogs.

This was born, as all good traditions are, out of a unique event that became a signature dish for the Mrs. and I when we were first married.  Our first Christmas together we couldn’t find anything tempting for dinner in the larder.  On a whim, the Mrs. decided she was craving mac & cheese.  I can’t stand mac & cheese from a box without a hotdog to cut that cheese (yes, I appreciate the irony of using fake meat to deal with fake cheese).  The next year we successfully found a better recipe for mac & cheese and we’ve used it ever since.

Whatever your traditions are, I hope they strengthen familiar bonds and give the holidays the warm glow of happiness.

Well, the big day finally arrived and the Mrs. and I are proud parents of a baby boy. Baby and Mother are in good health, although the labor was…laborious to say the least. Thank God I’m a guy.

Mandi W. is the grand prize winner of the ‘Name that Cheechako’ contest with: Gabriel Owen. The Grasshopper’s real name is Owen Gabriel. Good guessing Mandi. Since she recently had a baby boy recently, perhaps she was better positioned to ‘get inside our head’. Who knows, but Proud-Auntie will be sending her a prize shortly.

The Mrs. and I are slowly getting used to this new addition to our family. Luckily he doesn’t cry excessively and sleeps fairly well so I think the transition into parenthood will go rather smoothly. The Mrs. and I miss the unbroken nights of sleep though. Such are the trials of parents. We have yet to be peed or puked on which is a small blessing. I know it will happen eventually, but I’d rather those events continue to be in my future.

Posting will continue to be light. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all.

With the due date fast approaching the Mrs. and I finally found time to rifle through the monstrous stack of postcards in order to cull the best from the crowd. The grand prize winner (closest to name used) will be announced once the Peanut is born. Without further ado, I give you the categories and the winners:

  • Most creative: Linda B. for Kiah Thrence and Kenric Heath. Linda rearranged the letters of Nick and Heather.
  • Zaniest: Mark S. for Ylee and Michael Flash.
  • ‘Hi, my parents are hippies!’: Connie M. for Misty Dawn and Midnight Sun.
  • Most Alaskan: Bob and Ann B. for Ganuk “Snowflake” and Afuyakti “Hunter”.
  • Best use of a 1960’s pop song the parents have never heard of: Bob M. for Juno White Dove and Robert Running Bear. From the song Running Bear by Johnny Preston.
  • Best meaning: Sandi W. for Dillan (Welsh-born near the sea) Zale (Greek-power of the sea).
  • Most likely to have been used in the 1800’s: Josie S. for Faith Tansy and Matthias Methuselah.
  • Least likely to be pronounced by a teacher correctly: Kris S. for Siobhan and Muircheartaigh. Wow.
  • Most likely to require after-school judo classes: Ron and Holly S. for Aquanetta and Brook.
  • Cheeziest: Grace N. for Kerri Boo and Cody Ack.
  • Most likely to be used if we didn’t already have names picked out: Laura N. for Eden Levi and Liam Micah.
  • Best Advice: Bill and Ginny T. for “…remember the problems you gave your parents.”

Have a safe, happy, and tasty Thanksgiving everyone!

Day by Day Cartoon by Chris Muir

Indeed. Now go watch some football or something. It’s -5F this morning, so all activities are indoor this year for us.

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