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Weekend followup

We just had a great weekend! Saturday with Michael’s birthday party and Sunday enjoying the awesome weather outside in the back yard together and chatting with neighbors, it was just a great weekend. I love this time of year with the cooler temperatures and clear skies. It is so relaxing to sit in my back yard, with the “preservation” area behind us, nothing but the sounds of nature to listen to (and the kids playing of course).

Liz and I even got to work on her allspiffedup website a little. We are testing out some things and trying to make it more interactive and visually appealing. We should have a new site up and running in a week or so. I really enjoy doing web work with Liz, we both enjoy it, and although I’m the more technical person who makes things happen, she is understanding of how things work in general and is very good with graphics and we end up having a good time together doing this sort of thing.

P.S. Michael still talks about his moon, he randomly remembers he has it, and keeps saying “moon” over and over and tells everyone about it. Its really cute!

Trick or Treat – lock the door

I feel really about this, and everyone is telling me not to worry about it, but still, it bothers me that I did this, even though it was purely by accident.

Last night we got home around 8:15 or closer to 8:30, and I was getting Sarah in bed and also working on my phone which had to be re-configured (long story). Liz got home just a few minutes after me and I had already gotten Sarah in bed, but when she got home she saw our neighbors outside and they invited her over with Abby to get more candy. So Liz and Abby and Michael went over to the neighbors house. I get a call a few minutes later from Liz and she says I may want to turn off the porch light (that she had left on) because she thought someone might see the light on and come to us for candy (of which we had none since we go out with the kids and don’t stay home to hand out candy). By this time it was probably 8:45pm and I’m on the phone with Liz on speaker, and I go and turn off the porch light, and also lock the deadbolt on the door. I start walking away from the door and hear a boys voice say “trick or treat”.

Turned out he was on the porch and I flipped the light off on him and locked the deadbolt as I walked away from the front door. The poor kid probably thought I was some old ratchety crank being mean and turning him away empty handed. I got off the phone with Liz and looked out the window to see a car in our driveway, so I guess they just moved on, but still I felt bad about what happened.

Stressful Sunday

We had a bit of a crazy time this past sunday. Liz slammed the Miata car door on Abby’s fingers, so we were taking care of her, and during this whole ordeal, Michael went into the kitchen and opened the oven door and burned his little finter tips. Neither of the incidents were bad, they were fine in a few minutes, but it was enough to make the stress levels rise. Plus I hate seeing my “babies” hurting.

The long weekend

This is going to be a long post, so be prepared for some reading…

Firday I took a personal day from work to stay home and watch the kids while Liz went to a conference in Orlando. She actually left on Thursday afternoon, but her parents came earlier on Thursday to help with the kids. So I got home on Thursday evening and she was gone 😦 After some settling in, we decided to have soup and grilled-cheese sandwiches for dinner. This is a simple meal, but very tasty (I make a great grilled-cheese sandwich). I had a bit of a crazy time trying to time everything just right, making soup and sandwiches for so many people at once. It turned out good, which I was a little doubtful about since we were one package of soup short of what I thought we’d have. There was plenty for everyone and it was good.

We got the kids in bed on Thursday night and had some fun beforehand playing the wii. Once the kids were in bed, Liz’s parents played the wii and after a while we shut the wii off and watched a movie. We put on Eragon and stayed up late.

Friday morning, after the kids and I had breakfast, we had a wii tournament. I played a few games with the girls, and then Liz’s parents started a bowling competition. They both achieved pro status and had some very good games. They were beating me and I lost some of my pro points.

Then we decided to run out to a store to try to buy a computer for my brother-in-law’s fiance’ We went to Circuit City in New Tampa and looked around (this was while Sarah was in school). We were there for about 2 hours with Michael and Abby actually being pretty good. We found a computer we all agreed was a good one, for about $400 but it didn’t come with a monitor. They had a package deal with it, but the monitor it came with was a bulky CRT.

Kind of kidding, I said they could buy me one of the nice HP flat panel monitors and I would give them my 19″ dell FP at home and give them some money for the upgrade. They agreed and the rep checked inventory, but found they didn’t have any of the computer we picked out in stock. So my mother-in-law asked if they would sell them the display model. The rep agreed and came back with a price around $330 something. We went to check out and they were going to keep the computer for a few hours and re-image it and then have us come back to pick it up. We were about to leave when Liz’s dad found a problem with the receipt. After probably an hour of waiting and adjusting, they just couldn’t get it right. They ended up getting the computer for about $185 and they got an additional $30 discount on the monitor. All in all, they paid around $460 or so for the computer and monitor, which is an awesome deal!

We went to Wendy’s after that since we are all starving and it was around lunch time anyway. I was in a hurry because I wanted to hook up the new monitor. We got to Wendy’s and got in the drive through line, but the line was moving slow. Liz’s mom suggested it would faster if she just went in and ordered. So I pulled out of line into a parking spot. We waited in the car for what felt like 30 minutes, when finally Liz’s dad went in to check out what was taking so long. Turned out they were out of chicken right at noon (go figure) and had to cook more on the spot. We finally got out of there after 12:35pm and made it home to sit down and eat. I fed Michael and got him down for a nap and started setting up the new monitor on the computer desk. At first, it worked, but was blurry, and didn’t have the software installed for the proper resolution or settings. After installing the right software, the DVI output stopped working. When set to the right resolution, the monitor would go into standby, and the display would just stop. I tried everything, uninstalling, safe mode, new drivers, new ATI software, etc. Nothing worked and I ended up taking the video card out of my multimedia computer and reloading my home computer’s OS. Once reloaded with the other video card, there were no problems and things were fine.

So now my multimedia computer is stripped of its video card and is non functional. I ordered a new video card from TigerDirect online, and it should be here sometime mid-week. I got an HIS Radeon 512MB GDDR3 Pro card, with nice specs and enhanced HD support. This should be a major improvement! I was sad to find out later that my power supply in my multimedia machine is only 250W, meaning that the new video card won’t have enough power in that computer. I may end up for now putting the new card in my main computer and taking the original video card that was in the playback computer and put it back in since I know that works. But ultimately, I want to get new power supplies for both computers, a 500W for the main PC, and a 450 for the multimedia computer.

After spending most of the afternoon working on the computers and getting things setup, I began working on setting up the new computer that my in-laws bought. I managed to re-image the computer to factory, and do all the updates and install needed software. Then I moved all their files and settings off the old computer to the new one. Then I cleaned up the old computer and removed all the clutter and made it like new. (Liz’s mom ran home once we got back from CC and got their existing computer). The arrangement ended up being that they got the new computer, and my monitor. Then my brother-in-law’s fiance’ got their computer and exsting 17″ flat panel monitor. So the arrangement worked out well for everyone.

We had Pizza Hut dippin’ strips pizza for dinner, and I also ordered a large half cheese, half pepperoni pan pizza. It was sooooo good, we love the dippin strips, which is only a seasonal thing from what we can tell. I ordered online and had it delivered.

Friday night, we started watching Spiderman 3 and didn’t finish because it was late and the movie was long. So I went to bed around 12:30 something or close to 1am.

Saturday morning we played more wii, and I finished final touches on the computers. Then we started cleaning up the house in preparation for Liz to get home that evening. We had lunch after Liz’s parents left that morning. We got to play more wii and relax a bit before Liz got home. We had the left over pizza for lunch which was still good, we had just enough left to have enough for lunch.

I was just putting the kids to bed when Liz walked in the door. Must have been after 7:30pm and I had just put Michael to bed. So I went and got him back out of bed to say hi to her. I put him down on the floor in his room, and I think he already knew she was home. He ran out of his door and into her arms and just held her for a while. He is such a sweet little boy!

Got all the kids to bed Saturday night, and Liz and I sat on the couch and chatted about our weekends and relaxed a little. It was nice to catch up and fill each other in on all the goings-on of the weekend. She had a great time at her convention and told me all about it. I told her the long story of the computer work for the weekend.

Sunday we had Amanda and her kids over for lunch and the kids got to play for a while and Lizzie and Lina got to play bowling on the wii. Amanda finished a turn for Lizzie, and said it could definately get addictive.

All weekend I had meant to cut the grass, but never found time, I was busy all weekend and never got around to it. Then I took a sick day on Monday because I was getting over some stomach problems that I seemed to pick up over the weekend. I had thought I could try to at least mow the front yard on Monday, but it kept raining on and off all day. It was a weird weather day, it would be sunny outside, but a rain cloud would be over our house, and it would be raining. Sometimes hard rain would come down and it would get grey outside, but then it would stop and the sun would come back out. All day it was like this, so I didn’t get a chance to cut the grass.

WABC project meeting

I met yesterday afternoon around 2pm with Michael Odell about the WABC website. We went over the details of the site, and how its setup, where to go for what, and gave them all the info I had. I sent Michael the e-mail I composed for him with all the links and information needed to manage the site.

His mom came with him and seemed very nice. Michael seemed a little timid but he got on the computer and I had him go through adding a calendar entry and looking things over. They both sounded like this should be pretty easy and then they left just after 2:30. So it wasn’t a long meeting, but hopefully was informative.

Once we get more information from Gary and Lynn regarding actual content for the site, we can get it up and running and finish our part for now.

Michael is growing

Michael is getting to be such a sweet little boy. He is hyper and can be quite a handfull, but he did something this morning that was really nice. I was on my way out the door for work, and gathering my things to prepare to leave. I usually make my rounds and give everyone a hug before I leave. When I got to Michael, he holds out his arms (while sitting in his chair) and and says “hug” and then as he was hugging me, he says “kiss” and wanted to give me a kiss. It was so sweet, he is such a sweet, special little guy.

Sarah's pre-birthday weekend

We had a semi busy, but nice weekend. On Friday we had Mike and Renee over again, and had dinner and talked. We played the wii again and had a good time watching Liz go nuts with boxing again. I had a few bad games of bowling, but I think we were tied at the end. Everyone got tired around 11 something but we stayed up talking until just about midnight when our guests left. Abby went ot bed on Friday almost normal time, and Sarah stayed up until midnight with us. Michael would have stayed up if we would have let him, he seems to have unlimited energy and does not “konk out” at all.

Friday night, Abby woke up a few times and caused Liz and I to only get a very few hours of sleep. Michael woke up early and we needed to get up a little early anyway as we planned to go to the Rec Center for the Family Fun day. So we got up, ate breakfast and got ready to go. I think we got to the Rec Center by 11 or so. I got the kids to the pool and when they were all set, I left them with Liz and went to hit around in the racquetball courts a bit before Mike and Renee got there to warm up a little. Well I ended up hitting my only ball out of the court into the parking lot, so I had to leave and go to Wal-Mart to get a new can of balls. It took what seemed like forever, and I didn’t get back until almost 12:30. At that point, Mike and Renee just got there, but the Rec Center had run out of food, so Mike went to Wendy’s to get something. When he got back, I was back out on the court hitting around a little more, and shortly thereafter it started to rain. At first, it felt nice, cool water hitting my hot head out in the sun. Then a few minutes later it was pouring! I walked back into the pool area to find the family and they were closing down the pool area, forcing all the people inside because of the thunder storm moving over. So we stood under a walkway for a while talking but decided just to go home. It rained hard and we got soaked getting out to the van. Mike drove me to our van from his, and it was coming down the hardest right about the time we made a run for it. We had a nice relaxing day indoors after that due to the rain which makes a lovely sound on the play room roof, and is ideal for napping on the couch.

On Sunday, I took Abby out on a daddy date to the Brandon mall. I’ve never been but had heard it was a nice mall. We went in the miata together, and had a nice ride, but left the top up and used the A/C as it was very warm! We got to the mall and went to a cookie shop and got a small bag of cookies. Abby rode a small train ride before we left for the food court to sit down and eat our cookies. We found that just like the Citrus park mall, they also have a large indoor merry-go-round and so Abby just had to ride that too. We got on and rode around for a while and then headed back to the car. It is a nice mall, but not as nice as Citrus Park. I did find some stores in there that I’ll keep in mind the next time I need to go shopping…

Vacation Summary

We are finally back from Vacation (actually got back on Tuesday evening). We had a nice relaxing time (mostly) and it was nice to see family and friends and places we haven’t seen in a few years. Now lets see if I can remember a few highlights…

My favorite part was playing badminton for over 6 hours straight. I think it was Saturday we had a family get togther and a cookout, after everyone ate, we started playing and it was a lot of fun. It was a little disappointing at how easy it was to beat Ray and Jeremy, I expected more competition than what I saw out there. Liz got some great shots of me playing, and they are available in the picture gallery.

We went blueberry picking (actually I took the kids to the field) and we picked over 13 pounds of blue berries. They were $1.50 a pound, so I spent almost $20, but boy were they good!!! I probably ate about 6 pounds by myself the first day we got them.

The kids played in a stream down a dirt road, and rode bikes through it. My kids loved it and enjoyed getting wet and muddy. At one point Abby had to go to the bathroom while we were all at the stream, so I carried her on my back all the way back to the house and helped her, and then we drove back to the stream in Uncle Jam’s car. I stuck Abby up through the sunroof so thats the first thing they’d see as we drove up. Then on the way back, I had Michael ride with me, I drove Jam’s car in reverse all the way back to the house with Michael in my lap, I had to hold the steering wheel tightly as Michael was trying to “steer” with me.

Overall our flights up and back were very good, no bumps or problems. When we got to the Tampa airport, our main bag was 3 pounds over weight. They made us take out 3 pounds. So Liz took her purse out and shoved some shoes in there to get through check-in. The girls were great on the flights, only bugged me a bit about pushing the seat’s recline button, they really wanted to push it bad, so I told them it was to push if you wanted to take a nap, then they weren’t really interested anymore. They watched a movie on my laptop on the way there.

We forgot Michael’s stroller on the way back, so Liz used the snug carrier thing that straps onto you, and carried Michael that way, which worked out good on the plane.

We rented a van from Budget on the way from Dover to Newark to visit my Aunt and Uncle. We got a nice Dodge Grand Caravan which was very comfortable. We had a nice visit with them as well and I ended up staying up really late talking “tech” with David.

Leaving Philly on Tuesday, our plane was delayed a little getting in, and had to wait in line for about 30 minutes before we could leave. So there was a little delay getting back home. Mike picked us up in their van and brought us home, which was nice.

While staying with my mom, we basically had no cell service, so it was a little disturbing to be so disconnected for the first day or two. After that I got used to it and it was actually nice not to be glued to my phone all day. I almost forgot how relaxing that is. I was joking around telling people that we have these nice GSM quad band world phones that will work in Austrailia, the UK and abroad, but we can’t even use them in Delaware! Cingular has good signal in the major areas, but service in the rural areas is really bad. Verizon by far is the better carrier in the north east. Now that Cingular is the new at&t, maybe that will improve over time.

Overall our trip was good, it was good to see old faces and places and catch up with people. We got lots of good pictures and had a relaxing time. However, it is still a difficult thing to travel with small kids, so I hope not to have to travel like that again for at least 5 years!!! 🙂

Near perfect weekend

This past week and especially this weekend, we’ve had several really nice days. On Wednesday when I had off, we went to the park and played and spent time together as a family, it was just awesome. This Saturday, I took the girls to a new park we’d never been to before thats right on the Hillsborough river. It was very quiet and secluded and had a small boardwalk that stretched along the bank of the river. They had a nice playground for the kids who thoroughy enjoyed the the tall slide. I pulled them around in their wagon a bit and then all 4 of us (Sarah, Abby, Michael and me) walked up and down the boardwalk. Abby is terrified of squirrels and made me hold her when they came near. There were ducks and places to feed the animals. After about an hour of that, we headed back home for some lunch. Later on we got back in the van and headed to Bonnie Brae park again. We plopped the kids down in the sand at the volleyball net and Liz and I tried to hit the ball back and forth a few times. The kids quickly got tired of that and we then went over to the playground to let them play. Liz keps seeing other MOPS moms there and had a nice time chatting. I got a lot of pushing in on the swings, as two of my kids need to be pushed if they want to swing. My arms felt like they were going to fall off when I was done. Sunday we had lunch at Wendy’s with Amanda, Lizzie and Lina (and Catherine). After that we went home to let Michael take a nap and around 4 we headed back to Bonnie Brae park for more play time. This time more of our friends met up with us and we let our kids play together and relaxed in the shade at the park. I chased Michael around a bit and kept my eyes on a few other kids while we walked around. We didn’t leave the park until after 6, it was such a beautiful day, low 80s and a nice breeze with low humidity. It was as close to perfect as one could ask for. The whole entire weekend was absolutely beautiful and we had a great time together. It was so refreshing and relaxing, I loved every minute. Although the time did go quickly as always, it does in a way seem like we lived a lifetime this weekend. It is hard to get back into our normal routine now that Sarah’s spring break is over and we are back to the normal grind.

Stressful few days

The last few days have been hectic to say the least. With all the DST preparations that were needed and other daily tasks it was just crazy. Then on Friday evening after installing the DST updates for Exchange 2003, it broke our Goodlink system for mobile e-mail. The cause was a known issue, and I even worked wtih Goodlink previously and made the necessary changes to our permissions to get around it, but for some reason, we still had problems. I had to contact Good support and work with a tech until almost midnight on Friday, and even past noon today (Saturday). I basically had to re-do all the goodlink account permissions and modify some settings in AD and Exchange. I’ll post all the MS KB articles later. It was a long process and I didn’t get the server back into normal working condition until around noon today. It was working ok when I stopped last night just before midnight, but for whatever reason, the problem re-appeared after a few hours sometime overnight.

To make matters worse, Abby started acting sick yesterday, and woke up last night around 1am with a cough high fever. I heard her crying so I went to get her. Liz and I crashed on the couch because of the time and we like sleeping on the couch sometimes. So when I heard Abby crying I went to get her, only to find her in my bed crying. She had gone in my room to find us and we weren’t there. So she got up in our bed and was crying. I brought her out to the couch with me and Liz and I swapper her around and barely got any sleep. So today, I spent a lot of time working on the goodlink issues, but Liz had to go out to a MOPS picnic event (which we were all going to go to) to spend some time with some orphans. I didn’t get to go, I ended up staying home to work and Abby wasn’t well so I also watched Abby and Michael while Liz took Sarah in the Miata.

We didn’t do much of anything today, and Sarah seems to be the only one with any Energy today. Tomorrow is the last day of the strawberry festival. I love their strawberry shortcake!!! And I would love to come home with a flat of strawberries, but I don’t know for sure yet if I’ll get to go. The plan is to grab some cash from the bank tomorrow and sometime after lunch, I’ll run over to Plant city and get some strawberries, and hopefully find a place that has some strawberry shortcake!

Now I’m off to rest with poor sick little Abby and maybe watch a movie or something while collapsing on the couch!