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Published: Tue, 09 Jul 2013 05:49:05 +0000

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Terraforming Mars Review

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 18:29:12 +0000

TL;DR: Terraforming Mars game mechanics are exceptional but it desperately needs a second edition to do a complete art design overhaul, new playmates (similar to Scythe), rules/guidebook re-write, and improve overall quality of the product. The biggest issue I have with the game is that the art design is really bad, it’s as if the […]



Sprout Apps in Review

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 18:41:11 +0000

This isn’t my “2016 in review” like so many other #WordPress businesses have published this week. For starters, I’m less productive than those I admire and it’s overdue. Joking aside; I’m going to share my journey with Sprout Apps in regards to financial up/downs/ups/drops/outlook… A Chart… I’m going to be referring to the chart below, so analyze it and […]



Gaining Confidence in my WordPress Product Business

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 22:29:54 +0000

After writing my notes for my recent interview on the Matt Report I wanted to expand on two things I wrote: I don’t have a goal for “$15k a month” because I don’t have a plan at the moment to get there… …at the moment I’m fine tuning my business process in order to continue to grow […]



What Did I Just Say? on an episode of Matt Report Season 4

Tue, 01 Nov 2016 23:03:26 +0000

I don’t like doing podcasts, I get nervous, and just clam up, public speaking is just a fear that I’ve been trying to break…and up until recently I had done one podcast, which was an old cast of Apply Filters. It was a surprising  invite to be interviewed on the Matt Report, and because of my fear […]



Big Man, Freshbooks

Wed, 07 Sep 2016 16:41:04 +0000

A couple months ago (June ’16) it was brought to my attention that Freshbooks was squatting on the term “Sprout Invoices” on Google, which is perfectly fine although this wasn’t. Not cool dudes! The resolution was to go through the process of a trademark claim, which took about a month to process. The sad thing is […]



Reviews & Download Counts

Wed, 06 Jul 2016 05:18:20 +0000

Trying to find a positive of the review-gate I decided this was a great opportunity to find how positive ratings affects download counts. Be warned: while I like numbers, statistics isn’t a strong area of mine; and while I tried to be objective about these numbers it’s sorta impossible when my intent is to prove a point.  So take the […]



What Now? No Way? Huh?

Tue, 05 Jul 2016 21:42:41 +0000

Let me preface this post by mentioning that this was difficult to write, I’m still frustrated but I’ve accepted the immediate outcome. That said… Last week I received an email from the WordPress.org plugin review team that Sprout Invoices “has been found to be in violation of the repository guidelines, found at https://developer.wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-org/detailed-plugin-guidelines/“. Turns out this was the issue: What […]



New Car Gone?

Tue, 28 Jun 2016 16:31:28 +0000

Been waiting, and waiting, for the final settlement on the VW diesel buyback/recall for months now, the “agreement” has been sealed until it was submitted to the courts today but I’m finding nothing that will help me figure out what I’m supposed to do (with my a3 tdi). Sigh. It looks like they won’t start […]



Why our Refund Rates being so High isn’t Alarming (or Terrible)

Wed, 17 Feb 2016 01:45:48 +0000

James Laws asked me last week for my “lifetime refund percentage” (over at Sprout Apps) so he could get a general feel for our industry. He briefly mentioned his percentage was sub-5% which gave me pause, my immediate reaction was to think I’m doing something wrong; even though (at the time) I didn’t know my numbers. Knowing SA’s refunds were much higher I dug into the […]



Speaking Tour

Fri, 15 Jan 2016 19:12:21 +0000

One of my new year goals is to do more talks, specifically speaking at meet-ups. Yesterday was my first; not the first of the year, my first talk that I’ve given to a complete set of strangers — ever. My hope that it would be easy to do a simple overview of Sprout Invoices was wrong. […]



Lazy Daze

Wed, 18 Nov 2015 23:31:11 +0000

Today, after a major release of a Sprout App, I relax, only handling support. A tradition since the days of freelancing, when after a major project was launched I’d go play golf, or play with the kids. Today, it’s uncomfortable. I just have so much to do; Sprout Invoices’ next release keeps growing with “must do” features […]



Transition

Thu, 27 Aug 2015 01:22:16 +0000

When I first saw the movie Interstellar a little less than a year ago, I loved it for a lot of reasons. But I’m not afraid to admit that I probably looked a little bit like this guy during a … Continue reading



Adding String Attachments (AddStringAttachment) with wp_mail

Wed, 19 Aug 2015 02:04:00 +0000

I couldn’t figure out how to add a string attachment to the notifications sent through wp_mail so I hacked something together — without modifying core files (as you might have seen in some Google search results). So I pass an attachment that’s a json encoded array that will intentionally fail. View the code on Gist. Since the attachment failed […]



E-Mail Marketing for the Win! I hate myself…

Sat, 21 Feb 2015 00:34:36 +0000

If that is your reaction to someone saying “email marketing” or “drip email marketing” I want to be your friend, I have the same reaction too but I’m going to get through this… …and before I go into how I’m using Customer.io for Sprout Apps, I’d like to share some personal history about why I had thought the only way for […]



The Nervous System of the 21st Century

Wed, 31 Dec 2014 18:41:22 +0000

“When we treat the internet as though its most important policy question is how artists get paid, or how we stop jihadis from recruiting each other, or how we make sure there isn’t the wrong kind of pornography getting into … Continue reading



Jefferson on Intellectual Property

Sat, 13 Dec 2014 06:25:54 +0000

If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; … Continue reading



Waterproof / Swimming MP3 Player Review – Pyle PSWP20BL

Thu, 17 Jul 2014 06:26:27 +0000

This is a review post for the Pyle PSWP20BL MP3 Player I recently purchased for use during lap swimming. TLDR: It’s good. Make sure the earplugs fit well. A couple weeks ago I decided to get back into lap swimming. … Continue reading



no facebook

Sat, 22 Mar 2014 05:02:35 +0000

I gave up FaceBook for lent. It’s been 9 long days. I have chosen to stay off “IT” till Easter Sunday, except Sundays. On Sundays I can “take the day off.” Seems ironic to me to take Sundays off, since the Lent is “a season of self-examination, fasting and penance in preparation for our Easter […]



Could Apple Read iMessages?

Fri, 28 Feb 2014 20:48:48 +0000

TLDR: Yes This post is in response to a recent article covering the implementation of the encryption system used in Apple’s iMessage system. Disclaimer: This post is only going to cover the purely technical answer to the question of whether … Continue reading



beach pictures

Thu, 22 Aug 2013 04:01:08 +0000

I had “real” pictures taken of the kids. I had to choose 5 out of 30+ pictures. It was really hard, but I managed. Here they are;



back at it

Thu, 22 Aug 2013 03:43:24 +0000

School has started for both kids. Avery is loving third grade. She loves that she has the same teacher as she did last year and a bunch of friends in there too. All summer she kept asking me if I thought she would have that teacher or not. I just kept reassuring her, then saying […]



Sawyer is 5

Wed, 14 Aug 2013 05:17:47 +0000

Sawyer is now 5 years old. He’s been looking forward to his birthday for over a month now. Just about every morning he’s asked me, is “today my birthday?” He chose to wear this new shirt he got from his Aunt Mardi today. The patch didn’t last long, but he loved wearing this pirate shirt. […]



Got networking equipment you aren’t using?

Fri, 09 Aug 2013 23:14:41 +0000

One thing I’m going to be doing in Africa is helping with various tech needs; they specifically mentioned needing network equipment. If you have any wifi access points or small (non-rack mount) switches or hubs that you’d like to donate, … Continue reading



Book & movie

Fri, 02 Aug 2013 05:19:52 +0000

I finished reading Fantastic Mr Fox to the kids. I loved siting up in my bed or on the couch with a kid on each side listening to every word I read.  I was pleasantly surprised at how easily Sawyer let me read the book. It took a few days longer than I expected because […]



Restless

Thu, 01 Aug 2013 05:28:22 +0000




Resurfacing

Wed, 31 Jul 2013 00:29:18 +0000




the brother fairy

Tue, 30 Jul 2013 05:11:14 +0000

  The other day Avery came home from a friends house with a “surprise for Sawyer.” She couldn’t explain anymore since Sawyer was listening too. She immediately went to her room and stayed there for about 20 minutes. That night she showed me what she’d been up to. She had a bunch of “treasurers” in […]



fantastic mr fox

Wed, 17 Jul 2013 04:34:36 +0000

Tonight I read the first three chapters of Fantastic Mr Fox (Roald Dahl) to both kids tonight. I let Avery choose the book. She knew she wanted one of the Roald Dahl books from the set she got last Christmas. I’m glad she picked a book that has a movie that we can watch after […]



training

Tue, 09 Jul 2013 04:41:03 +0000

I am doing a marathon. No, I won’t be running it, but walking it. It’s in October… I better start training, 26.2 miles is a very long way. Tomorrow morning!



IDK

Mon, 08 Jul 2013 18:32:47 +0000

In elementary school I knew girl that never said “what?” If she didn’t hear you she’d say “pardon?” or “I didn’t hear you.” No, she wasn’t English, she was American. At the time my friends and I thought it was so weird. Who doesn’t say “WHAT?!?” Now that I’m a parent, I can see why […]



State of the RSS

Thu, 04 Jul 2013 02:38:00 +0000

Anyone who sees “RSS” in the title of this post and understands what it means is probably familiar with Google Reader, and is also probably aware that it finally got shut down this month. So now what? I switched over … Continue reading → Anyone who sees “RSS” in the title of this post and understands what it means is probably familiar with Google Reader, and is also probably aware that it finally got shut down this month. So now what? I switched over to Feedly a while before the shutdown, but I honestly haven’t really been using it enough to give it a proper review yet. However, I already know it’s not an ideal solution for me (for one primary reason, which I spend most of the text below covering), so I thought I’d put together a few thoughts on what a perfect world would look like to me when it comes to apps and services used to consume RSS. My ideal system would be composed of 2 distinct parts or aspects: 1. Aggregation / Sync Service This means something running somewhere that is consolidating all of your feeds as well as your state information (read items, shared posts, etc.) that has a good external facing API for other user interfaces to build on top of. Although not as visible, this was arguably the more important aspect of Google Reader, and the thing that caused the most pain when it went away. Sure, GR had its own web UI and official mobile apps, but it also served as the back end for many other 3rd party reader clients who had the rug yanked out from under them along with the direct users and had to scramble to build their own back end or move to support others. Which brings me to *my* most important requirement for this piece: it should be open source, free (as in freedom) software. It could also be hosted as a paid or free service (which is how most non-tech people would choose to use it), but it’s important that if whoever is primarily behind it decides to make any number of moves for any reason that infringe on the value users originally found in the service, someone else can pick up the ball and run with it, or users can even host it themselves. 2. UIs that work with that service Whether the provider of #1 also puts together a great web UI and/or mobile apps on top of the service is not too important to me. In fact, I’d almost rather they didn’t, just because that would probably make sure they are focusing on providing a great API as their only “user interface”. If they do that right, there will be plenty of room for lots of other players to build great apps and UIs (free and paid) that use it, again giving users the freedom of choosing among many options in case one ever fails. Closing thoughts GR used to be even better when it also had a lot of the social features they removed (sharing & comments) in their initial attempt to push users to G+, but that’s a whole other rant – as well as a service that could be provided as an add-on by either party described above or even a third service player that inter-operates with them. The funny thing is that the ideal system I described above is pretty much what Google Reader was before it went away. Ultimately, I thinking making sure that #1 is free software / op[...]



soy sauce

Sun, 03 Mar 2013 04:59:31 +0000

A few weeks ago our Soy Sauce celebrated his 1/2 birthday, he is now 4 and a half. Such a silly boy. He is up to a lot “tricks” lately. He hides things and says that Minnie (our cat) threw them away or that Avery (who is at school) gave them to a friend. When […]



Literacy

Wed, 12 Sep 2012 05:51:11 +0000

For most of human history, the general public (aka: the “average user”) was unable to read or write for themselves. In many cases their interests were not well served by yielding that advantage to the relatively few who could. Computers … Continue reading

For most of human history, the general public (aka: the “average user”) was unable to read or write for themselves. In many cases their interests were not well served by yielding that advantage to the relatively few who could.

Computers are an increasingly important part of life in our modern world, and the time where it was OK to be “computer illiterate” is behind us. Not that those who struggle with technology should be judged – on the contrary, we should encourage them to not sell *themselves* (and their own capacity for learning) short with statements like “it’s too hard” or “I’m just not a computer person”. Nonsense.




Desk Improvement

Thu, 30 Aug 2012 06:12:40 +0000

OK, it might not be that extreme, but I have recently been trying out a new desk configuration. Being a software developer, the majority of my working time is spent in front of a computer. To be honest, since it’s … Continue reading → OK, it might not be that extreme, but I have recently been trying out a new desk configuration. Being a software developer, the majority of my working time is spent in front of a computer. To be honest, since it’s something I enjoy learning about and doing (not just because I “have to” for work), a decent chunk of my leisure / hobby time involves computer use of some sort as well. This brings us to ergonomics. Regardless of how much time you’re going to use your computer, it’s in your best interest to take care of your body while doing so – specifically avoiding the long-term damage that can come simply from neglecting things like good posture. Until a couple weeks ago, I was sticking pretty closely to the image on the right. OK, maybe not sitting up quite that straight 100% of the time, but still, that was the goal Recently a few social networking posts got me thinking again about a concept I’d read about before: the standing desk (as seen on the left in the above image). You can do your own web searching for all the info on the benefits of standing rather than sitting down all day. Long story short, I thought it was interesting enough to check out. The huge downside that has deterred me from exploring this further before is that a lot of the recommendations involve either buying a standing-only desk (replacement) or a convertible contraption capable of supporting both standing and sitting. While there are some cheap, DYI options (at least for the standing-only variety), some of these things can get really pricey. Inspiration struck me when I noticed that a dresser already situated right next to my desk just happens to be the perfect height for me to very quickly achieve the position shown in the left image above – merely by moving my keyboard and mouse up to the dresser surface, and setting the monitor atop a platform raised to the appropriate height. For the last couple weeks I’ve been trying out this setup – alternating between sitting and standing for either one or two Pomodoros at a time, and I’ve found it to be a refreshing change. I think I feel more focused during the standing sessions, and while I think it might be a bit too much to fully switch over to it, I may try to gradually adjust the balance away from 50/50, in favor of standing. One other thing it’s great for – sometimes prior to working or during breaks I’ll exercise. Yeah, again, not as much as I should / plan to, but I’m getting better. Anyway… the point is that after doing so, standing is a good alternative to covering my chair with a towel to avoid getting it sweaty. In summary, I recommend giving some variation of the standing desk a try. Even if you don’t though, take note of the posture image above whether you’re sitting or standing. It may seem complex at first glance, but really it’s just a[...]



Being able to ask “What Can I Do About It?” FTW

Fri, 02 Dec 2011 07:26:01 +0000

The tempest around the recent Carrier IQ “spyware” issue serves as an important example of a key advantage of an open platform like Android, as compared to a closed source, locked system alternative (of course, we’ll use iOS as the … Continue reading → The tempest around the recent Carrier IQ “spyware” issue serves as an important example of a key advantage of an open platform like Android, as compared to a closed source, locked system alternative (of course, we’ll use iOS as the example of the latter). To be clear, before we begin, my point is *not* about the degree of “bad” that’s present in the various CIQ implementations. Let me clearly say that I acknowledge that (assuming you trust their statements on the matter, and I’m not arguing those here), Apple allowed the use of CIQ in the past in a much more limited capacity than some of the other cases, and it claims that it is even more limited in later releases. That’s great. Wonderful. Not what I’m talking about here, though. The point I *am* making is that I don’t want to have to take the word of the carrier or the device maker on issues like this. All of them came out with similar statements denying the degree to which the “bad stuff” happened. Some were proven to be lying. Some may have been telling the truth. Doesn’t make much difference to me in this scenario. My point is that you can take any instance of something like this and evaluate an important question. In order to avoid confusing the issue with the irrelevant details of the CIQ case, let’s (for the purposes of the rest of this post) substitute a different, totally fictional and hypothetical but similar discovery. Let’s say it comes out in January that HTC, Motorola, and Apple all made deals with “DJR” (fictional) software in the past, and they all (to varying degrees) stored and shared some extra information you’d rather they didn’t. The most important question (IMHO) if I’m a customer using a device where something like this has been discovered is “what can I do about it?” If I’m an Android user, there are several answers to that question. I could buy a different phone (since I have many to choose from) from a different carrier / manufacturer who hasn’t made the particular poor choice that I have a problem with. Or I could install an open source, custom ROM on the device I have now. This may (in some cases) void my warranty, but it’s at least an option that I can consider. On the other hand, if I’m using a system like Apple’s iOS, I have nowhere to turn. There are no other iOS devices (not made by Apple) to choose from if I don’t like what Apple has decided to do on the one I have. I certainly can’t install some alternative “distribution” of iOS, since those don’t exist. Even if the source were open (or obtained by other means) and it was technically possible for someone to build an alternative *full* iOS ROM (as opposed to simply jailbreaking the stock Apple one, which doesn&[...]




Tue, 24 Mar 2009 17:38:17 +0000

Obviously I haven't had a whole lot of time to blog lately - and honestly, I haven't really had the inclination to write witty things about what's going on in our lives when things are anything but witty. However, sometimes there are things that I just HAVE to pass on because it would be a crime not to...

This is Rory's latest passion - pretending to be "Ro Ro, the Superhero". My brother was the EXACT SAME WAY when he was a kid (Jer ran around with a cape for several years and even tried to "throw" our dog across the room once with his "superhuman strength". Sorry Jer, I just couldn't resist!), so for me, this is sort of like one big hysterical flashback. We have always said that Rory was a "mini-Jer" in the making, now here's the proof:
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The following video shows the launch of the bottle rocket that Hoby and Rory made over the weekend using 2 liter soda bottles, a bike pump, and of course, some duct tape! Hoby and I were pretty skeptical that this was actually going to fly, but as you can see from the video, we were proven wrong - and the whole neighborhood got in on the act!

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A White Mariposa Christmas

Tue, 27 Jan 2009 06:12:54 +0000

Okay, so I'm writing about Christmas in January, but better late than never, right? We had an absolutely amazing trip up to Mariposa, which is a rural little town near Yosemite where my in-laws live. We always go up there to spend Christmas with my husband's family, which is hands down one of Rory's favorite times of the year. Sure he loves that this trip includes tons of Christmas presents (check out the loot he scored below):but more importantly, he gets to hang out with his two cousins, run around in the woods with a BB gun and eat an endless supply of sugar supplied by his Grandma Judy. Basically, little boy Nirvana. But as awesome as this sounds, something happened this year that made it more awesome - it SNOWED!Here is a picture of Rory and his cousin Marin outside when the first snowflakes began to fall. Rory had seen snow on the ground once before, but he had never seen it actually coming down. He was in total awe - he kept saying, "I didn't know that snow came from the SKY!"It didn't take long before it REALLY began to come down, and then it started sticking to the ground. It was freezing out, but Rory refused to come inside, he didn't want to miss a thing!After a full day and night of snow, we were invited to go to the next town over for some sledding. Now when I was growing up, the good sledding hills were always packed with people. But the bonus of being in the middle of nowhere is that we had this beautiful valley all to ourselves!Here's Rory on one of his first rides down the hill:And of course we had to build a snow man!Needless to say, we were in winter heaven!As you can probably tell from the pictures, this Christmas was the best we've had yet. What better way to spend the holiday than having fun with family and friends in the snow?! Rory is already counting down the days until next Christmas - I just hope that Grandma Judy and Papa Stan can make it snow again next year![...]



The Training Wheels Come Off

Sun, 04 Jan 2009 02:41:46 +0000

Today, Hoby got Rory's bike out and realized that Rory had grown so much since summer time (almost TWO WHOLE INCHES!! Yikes!) that he needed to raise the bike seat as far as it could go. "He's almost outgrown his birthday bike already," Hoby said shaking his head "and we haven't even taken the training wheels off yet." We both sort of looked at each other and so I said, "What the heck? Why not try taking them off now?" So out came the tools - which of course instantly got Rory excited (he's such a BOY!) - and before we knew it, he was ready to jump on and give it shot.I thought for sure that this would be an all day affair. The two of us would probably be running up and down the street behind Rory's bike for hours, right? I held my breath, preparing myself for what was sure to be some major wipe outs, and hoped I was stocked up on my Superman band-aids. Then before I knew it, they were off!The first try looked a little something like this:Okay, not too bad for his first attempt! I was impressed... and I couldn't help saying a quick prayer of thanks that my kid is obviously much more coordinated than I am. Then after a few more tries, he did this:HOLY COW! Did he just DO that?! ALREADY?!And just like that, he was off and riding on his own:Not only are we positively BURSTING with parental pride, but Rory is obviously so totally proud of himself. He has the most amazing smile on his face... his BIG BOY FACE. I don't know exactly when it happened, but suddenly it's very clear that my baby is not a baby anymore... and it kind of takes my breath away. Way to go, kiddo - we're SO proud of you![...]



"Police Navidad"

Fri, 19 Dec 2008 23:42:17 +0000

Rory had his preschool Holiday Concert this past Wednesday night, and although we video taped it (like every other parent there!), the video didn't turn very well and you couldn't really hear Rory singing. And since I've had the distinct pleasure of listening to him practice over and over for the past couple of weeks, I didn't think it would be fair if you couldn't experience it as well. (I know, I know, I'm just TOO kind!) So, here he is, singing his little heart out (in Spanglish, no less!):

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Learning the Fine Art of Total Embarassment

Thu, 18 Dec 2008 05:13:16 +0000

A few weeks ago, Rory and I are at church looking for Hoby. Rory is running around going, "Daddy? Daddy? Where are you?!". Finally, a man turns around and points to some guy with a mustache and says, "Hey there, little guy - is THAT your daddy?" So Rory says very matter of factly, "Nope, my daddy doesn't have a mustache... but my mommy does! She shaves hers off though." I thought I would DIE from embarassment! And as if that wasn't bad enough, I now get to see that guy EVERY FREAKIN' SUNDAY.

Thanks alot, Ro.



Michigan Trip 2008

Tue, 18 Nov 2008 06:32:27 +0000

Last weekend I took at trip to Michigan. Yup, you heard that right.MICHIGAN. Now, when I say that to most people, their response is usually, "Hmmmm, Michigan? Why would you want to go there? In NOVEMBER?". So I end up explaining that I grew up just outside of Detroit, and that Erika, a good friend of the family - someone I actually consider to be family - got married and it was our good fortune that the wedding was taking place right near our old family stomping grounds. I spent the first thirteen years of my life in Michigan, and believe it or not, I LOVED growing up there as you will probably be able to tell by the ridiculously large amount of pictures to follow. Having the opportunity to go back there after all these years was amazing and at the risk of sounding like a complete sap, it was quite possibly one of the best family trips I've ever taken.Okay, prepare yourself for a pictorial essay on my childhood!Are you ready?Well, to start with, here is how we officially knew we had entered the Midwest - below was the sign outside the door of our hotel's lobby:You won't see that in California!Below is the West Bloomfield Jewish Community Center (otherwise known as the JCC) which was where we spent the majority of our childhood. My mom worked here for years, and this enormous building was essentially our playground. Growing up in this place was the reason why I went to college and got a degree in Recreation Administration and Business. It was always my dream to come back and work here someday (but alas, Michigan is kind of a far commute from California!):This is the first house I ever lived in on Tammerlane Drive in a subdivision called Old Farm. Boy, it seemed so much bigger when I was little!Here I am in front of where I went to kindergarten at Ealy Elementary School:This is the house on Strathdale Lane that we moved to when I was in third grade. We lovingly refer to it as "The Sinking House" because the foundation was actually sinking, something that we didn't realize until we spent several years having to trim our vertical blinds like hair because they kept "growing" and hitting the floor. Ah, good times!We lived right down the street from a park that was located on Moon Lake. I used to ride my bike to the park, walk down the path to the dock, and catch tad poles for hours. I never realized how breathtakingly beautiful it was down at the lake!: The next place we went was our old elementary school, Pine Lake, that had an awesome wooded path that we used to walk through everyday on our way to school. It looked exactly like it did when we were kids: And not only did the path and the school look the same, but we were amazed to find that they even still had the same playground equipment that had been there when we were kids twenty something years ago! Unbelievable! Of course, I had to take pictures to prove it:After freezing our butts off playing on old school yard equipment, we headed out to one of our favorite childhood restaurants, Olga'[...]



Halloween 2008

Mon, 03 Nov 2008 06:04:04 +0000

Ah, Halloween - is there anything better for a three year old? Dressing up in costume, knocking on random doors, strangers giving out candy, and your parents actually letting you eat some! As Rory would say, Halloween is "pure awesomeness"! We are still in the process of detoxing that three year old from eating his weight in candy...The lead up to Halloween this year was pretty entertaining. At the beginning of October, I asked Rory what he wanted to be, and his answer was "a Starbucks Maker"(which translates to a Starbucks barista). Not hard to tell that this kid practically grew up in a Starbucks, is it? It sounded kind of odd to me until I realized that this costume basically required only a green apron and a pair of tan pants - it doesn't get much more low maintenence than that! - so I was totally onboard. However, about a week later, I went to pick Rory up from school and his teacher came up and said, "I asked your son what he wanted to be for Halloween and do you know what he said?" I smiled politely, thinking that she meant a Starbucks barista, but she started to laugh and said, "He wants to be a Chuck E. Cheese token!" Uh, WHAT?? Where on Earth did THAT come from? Rory had only been to Chuck E. Cheese once before when he was much younger, and they don't even have tokens anymore! I had no idea where he got the idea, but from then on, he was totally stuck on it.There went my low mainetenece costume! I had to figure out how to turn my kid into a token! My idea was to use cardboard and cut out two large circles to create a sort of sandwich board that he could wear over his shoulders, then take a picture of a token and have it blown up to cover the cardboard. Sounds good in theory, doesn't it? However, I quickly realized that this was going to be heavy and hard to move around in - and trust me, my child NEEDS to move! On to Plan B. I bought some light weight poster board, figuring this might be easier to get around in, but when I did a test drive with it, Rory ended up crushing it within the first five minutes of wearing it. This was turning out to be even harder than I thought. Darn that Chuck E Cheese and his tokens!So enter Plan C - convince Rory that he REALLY wanted to be a barista after all! I quickly ordered a little Starbucks apron online and started talking it up like it was going to be the best costume in the world. And you know what? It worked!!!Check out the cutest "Starbucks Maker" you've ever seen:Can't wait to see what he comes up with for next year...[...]



The Potty Train Has Finally Arrived at the Station...

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 06:07:07 +0000

I'm happy to announce that Rory has graduated from training and is now officially potty trained! Hallelujah! I have to admit that a few weeks ago I thought this day would NEVER come. Rory would go a couple times in the toilet every now and then (and we would shower him with praise, treats, etc. in hopes that THIS time it would stick for good!), but then when it came time to "go" again, he would cry for a diaper. And I mean CRY. Heart-wrenching, big crocodile tears crying like he was dying until I finally gave in and put one on him. And then he would go sit on the toilet. IN HIS DIAPER. It was starting to drive me crazy. Okay, BEYOND crazy. I had tried every trick in the book and nothing worked. So what finally did it? Actually, I had almost nothing to do with it! Here's how it went down: About two weeks ago, I took him to Babies R Us and let him pick out the potty seat of his choice. Not that we didn't already have two different kinds at home already, but I thought maybe if he chose for himself, he might be more motivated to use it. I let him sit on every model they had, and he chose the one he thought was most comfortable. I talked it up all the way home in the car ("Aren't you excited to use your new seat? Isn't comfy? We won't need those diapers anymore, no siree!"), and he seemed pretty enthusiastic about it...until it came time to actually put it to use. He went back to begging for a diaper - and my friends, I was begging for mercy.A few days later, however, we had some friends over who have a daughter a year younger than Ro who also doesn't like to use the toilet. When Rory came up to me later that evening and asked for a diaper so he could go potty, his little friend looked at him and said, "You still use a diaper? But you're a big boy!" Now I know that he really likes how his friend looks up to him as the "older kid", so I could see the wheels of his brain turning as he realized that he was about to lose some face. So he thinks for a minute and then says, "Nope, I don't need a diaper! Come on, I'll show you!" and he took her in the bathroom and "showed" her how he can poop in the toilet. She was totally in awe of him, and he was so proud of himself - I think that was the real turning point.The next day, when he said he needed a diaper, I just popped him on his new potty seat and reminded him of how proud he was of himself the night before, and next thing I knew, he had gone again! I think even HE was suprised! We made a sticker chart so he could earn a trip to Chuck E Cheese and I just kept putting him back on the toilet every time he asked for a diaper. He would whine a bit, but he wasn't hysterically crying like he had been, and once he went, we were both estactic.This week has been AMAZING. Wednesday, he came up and instead of saying, "Mom, I have to go poopy in my diaper," he actually said, "Hey Mom, I have to go poopy on the toilet!". ON THE TOILET!!!! WOW! I put him[...]