39 Jack-o-lanterns

No school today, so we carved pumpkins.  Lots and lots of pumpkins.  When we were done, I counted 39.  I think I purchased over 120 pounds of pumpkins this year.  Tips:

  • WinCo has the cheapest pumpkins at .18/lb (a small pumpkin weighs about 6 lbs)
  • A jigsaw is essential for fast pumpkin carving
  • A metal ice cream scoop (without that push button thing) is the best tool for removing the guts

I took a few pictures.  Click on the photo below to see a small album:


Mini Mechanic

I found a personal mechanic willing to help me out from time to time, mainly with bike cleaning. 

if she bends my derailleur, no gummy bears. 


Her cleaning agent of choice: Lemon Pledge with clean paper towels.

Halloween Haunted Path v2

PA310025 The kids have two days off school prior to Halloween this year, so we're going to go a little more nuts with our "Haunted Path" this time around.

Our front yard USED to be a wonderful garden, designed and planted by a master gardener.  That was in the 70's, however.  Since that time, the master gardener has passed away, and the front yard has turned into an overgrown forest of diverse vegetation.  Winding through it all is an old path made of slate, granite and maybe even a little marble.  While this must have been beautiful at one time, it's now a little spooky.  Perfect for Halloween.

Last year, we had great success.  We lined the path with lighted jack-o-lanterns and other spooky things.  Kids came in droves to walk through it.

This year â€" more jack-o-lanterns.  More spooky stuff, as evidenced by the boxes of skeleton parts on our living room floor.  Donna will have a couple days to plan this out, and she's pretty pumped up about it.  It will be good.

There are other improvements, too.  For one, Lelu is not much more ferocious and scary looking:

Last Year:
This Year:

And will we see new and improved costumes from last year? 

Underwear Ninjas:
Thing One and Thing Two:

Full coverage to follow.


Silence: The world's sleeping in today.
The Race flushes out my dreams.
Pounding heart shakes me awake.
It's time to rise and prepare.

I stand outside, feel the weather.
Bikes are prepped, clothes packed.
Double checking everything;
I'm ready to go, to Race.

Washing grease from my hands,
the sound of little feet approach.
My little sunshines greet me,
with morning hugs around my legs.

Wife glides in, children are playing.
Enjoying each other's company,
this lazy Sunday morning.
The Race is just a silly game.

Time to leave, but I don't.
A little guilt, a little conflict.
I can't wait to race today.
I should stay here and play today.

Time to leave, I say my goodbyes.
I'm wished well as I scramble out the door.
I can't wait to get there, to Race!
I can't wait to get back home.

Mette's (minor) surger-ific adventure

Mette had her adnoids taken out yesterday, and I thought I'd expand on that little update I posted.

We arrived at the Kaiser's Interstate surgery center at 7:30, checked in, and made our way back to the pre-op bed.  Once we entered that room, Mette understandably started to get a bit anxious.  She's had a few pretty big surgeries in the past, so this was quite justified. 

She tried to escape a couple times, getting off the bed and walking towards the exit.  We did our best to reassure her this was not as big a deal as last time.  That seemed to work okay.  We asked her what she remembered from last time, and she was talking about the "donut light" (the big overhead light in the operating room).  She then took a crayon and drew a perfect little sketch of it.  I was surprised by the accuracy.  If she ever gets abducted by aliens, I think she will be able to draw the inside of the spaceship no problem.

The anesthesiologist came by and gave her a common pediatric pre-op medication to calm her down.  She soon started smiling and laughing, so the anxiety was no longer a problem.  Soon after, she was taken to the O.R.

She was done in less than an hour.  We all walked back and sat by her bed, waiting for her to wake up.  She slept for a while.  All of a sudden, she sat up, and tried to make a run for it again.  Of course she was stuck in bed, but hahaha!  She's crazy.  Her main concern was to get the IV out.  She doesn't like them, and always insists on removing all the tape herself.  It made the nurse a little nervous, but Donna was very good about it.

She had a popsicle, sat the required amount of time, and then we were out of there.  While home, she ate about six helpings of rainbow sherbet.  She had noodles for lunch and dinner, and did fine with it.  Noodles are her favorite food, so this is not a problem at all.

We made her lay around yesterday and watch a couple movies.  By the evening, she was bored out of her mind and had to get up.  I expect her to be mostly back to normal today.  It really was a minor procedure, and she's doing great.

Thanks for the notes, comments and emails. 

Mette is okay

mettePostOp Mette had her adnoids removed today and is doing a-okay.

She's currently laying down, eating rainbow sherbet and watching The Princess Bride.


In early August, I wrote of some escaping caterpillars.  I mentioned several caterpillars got away, and I couldn't find any of them.

Well, last week, I found lots of them.  Kids bedroom closet.  Top shelf.  About a dozen dark brown cocoons.

I grabbed them and figured they were dead, it being September and all, and threw them in the garbage can.

The kids noticed I was doing something; they sensed Dad was up to no good:

Annelis: Dad?  What are you doing?  What did you throw away?

Me: Nothing...

Mette: Dad!  What was it?

Me: Uh...well...

[Mette runs over to the garbage can, which has nothing but a scattering of cocoons in it. ]

Mette: OH!  Dad are these cocoons?

Me: (Damn!) Maybe...but I think they're dead

Annelis: Ah, but maybe they're not.


The girls then decided that no garbage shall enter this sacred cocoon sanctuary until further notice.  Sure, Mette threw in a used Kleenex now and then, but usually fished it out.

Today, I went to the garbage can, and it was empty (not counting the Kleenex).  I think they got thrown out, to with which I am just fine.  However, I am wondering what the right move is.  Should I ask the girls where they went?  Or would that lead to them realizing someone has murdered their chrysalises?   And if that does happen, they will surely blame me, though I was not the culprit. 

Of course, the girls could have relocated their small, crunchy shelled friends somewhere else.  And what if...just what if they are really still alive, simply haven't hatched yet, and we end up with a house full of moths?  Now that I think about it, I'm sure I only found half of them; I know more are lurking somewhere...hiding, biding their time until the big moth invasion is upon us.

I suppose this is sweet justice for my father, who some 28 years ago woke up at 2am to a strange rhythmic noise coming from the living room.  What was it?  He silently made his way closer to investigate, the sound growing louder as he drew near.  Glancing around the corner, he checked the living room for intruders.  No one there. 

What is that sound?  Louder now, and now that he's closer, it's clear the rhythm is more random, not unlike the sound of popcorn popping.  He glides into the room, scanning for the source.  He closes his eyes to home in on it.  Slowly, silently, he makes his way to the living room table.  He opens his eyes to see a metallic cylinder standing before him.  He stoops down, and realizes it's a coffee can.  A very large coffee can, and there's no question the noise is coming from it.

My father picked up the coffee can.  He cautiously opened the lid to find...

Grasshoppers!  Lots and lots of big Missouri grasshoppers.  With the lid to their jail now removed, some of the lucky ones on top of their fellow captives probably got away.  My dad didn't waste much time, however, and soon, they were all free in the front yard. 

I'll take cocoons over that any day.  Sorry, Dad.

More Family Stuff

Kara I saw my friend Kara Wednesday evening, who said she's been checking in on the blog from time to time.  She offered some constructive criticism:

I want to see more family stuff.  I go there, and all I see is cyclocross, Cylclocross, CYCLOCROSS!

I explained this is standard operating procedure come October, but she held fast to her opinion.

Okay Kara, you want family stuff?  I've got your family stuff right here.   More to follow, too.

sept08-035 Mette is enjoying first grade.  Of course, the big thing is to read.  It's been hard to get her to buckle down and try, so I tried a marshmallow bribe game.  For every page she read in her book, I gave her a little marshmallow.  We made it through the entire book. 

Mette is also doing soccer, and she is getting more confident and aggressive.  That makes a big difference, and it's really fun to watch her play.

Finally, those who know Mette probably have seen her with a buggery nose.  She's had problems with recurring nasty green bugger nose for well over a year now.  We're hesitant to get antibiotics for curing colds, but when it got to sinus infection stage, we actually tried several variations with little lasting affect.

Finally, we took her to a Ear-Nose-Throat specialist.  Turns out she has big adnoids.  These sit at the back of the throat and can be a breeding ground for nasty bacteria.  The theory is she would get better from a cold, but the bacteria would never quite leave their favorite spot on the ol' adnoids.  So they reproduce, cause another infection, nearly get wiped out, and repeat...over and over and over again.   The adnoids are coming out on October 10th.  Not a big procedure, but this is the third time poor Mette has gone under the knife.  At least this one is minor.


horseLessons Annelis is in fourth grade.  She's got a lot of homework, and school isn't quite all the fun and games it once was.  Regardless of the workload, she still really likes going to school.  We're proud of her working so hard.

Annelis is also playing soccer.  This is her fourth year, and things are going well for her.  She enjoys the game and it's a lot of fun to watch her.  She recently tried playing goalie, and kind of likes it.  We've practiced a bit together while at Mette's soccer practices, and she even played goal for a while last Sunday.

For her birthday, we decided to get Annelis horse riding lessons.  She loved it, and it turns out it teaches some valuable life lessons as well, so we've kept on with them.  We arrive, she pulls out the horse, gets it all ready to go, and her instructor makes her do it all.  It's a little intimidating getting a big horse to do what you want it to do sometimes, but she handles it well. 

No car, not so bad

kidsBike I lost the last remaining key to my car almost two weeks ago, so I've been doing without for a while.

The kids have soccer practice three times a week, so we've been riding there.  It's great!

The climbs are kind of tough on them, especially my 6 year old.  When she comes along, I've been using a trail-a-bike that's got two seats--a tandem trail-a-bike! 

If you've ever towed one of these things, you might have experienced the radical reduction in your ability to go in a straight line.  As you might expect, towing two kids along amplifies this.  My front wheel has actually skidded sideways while I was trying to keep the bike under control.  So when dad yells "BALANCE," he really means it! 

There have been a few moments when I was a little concerned, but they were short lived.  Reminds me of the time I was going down a very big hill, towing the kids in a trailer, and my frame broke.  "Uh oh," I thought, as my suddenly floppy bike swerved all over the place. 

When given a choice, the kids are now choosing to ride instead of drive.  I think that's great!

Soccer is here

Soccer season has begun!  Both of my girls had their first games this weekend. 

Annelis almost didn't make it on a team, but we joined a neighboring league at the last minute.  She's happy about this, because the jerseys are cooler.  She likes the blue.


Mette is enjoying her second year, this time playing for the Lime Lizards.  Gotta love the bling white socks and shoes.


And finally, here's a two part action shot of Mette's first goal kick of the year:



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