Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Paper Bag Princess

Just like Anja before her, Isabel really likes the story of “The Paper Bag Princess". It’s a moderately old book (1980) but has gained popularity over the years having sold more than 3 million copies.

It turns the stereotypical prince saves the princess story on its head with an added twist at the end. In this story, Princess Elizabeth saves Prince Ronald but since he was not very gracious and respectful of how she looked after having saved him from a dragon (she’s only wearing a paper bag) she lets him know that he is a “bum” and goes her separate way to live happily ever after…without her prince!

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Thanksgiving Dinner

We had a wonderful dinner on Thanksgiving afternoon with Kaisa, Kevin, their children and friends. They put on a full spread with all the trimmings and as usual most left that evening having eaten way to much.

Thanks once again to both of you.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing everybody a Happy Thanksgiving, whether you celebrate it or not! We are all relaxing here at home today and will have a festive and thankful dinner later with Kaisa, Kevin and their girls!

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Christmas Ale tube video

Not sure if you've ever seen or witnessed beer fermenting. I took a short video clip of the fermentation of Sunday's Christmas Ale currently happening in our basement. the sound of that blup..blup..blup emission of CO2 is music to any  brewer.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I'm Back Brewin..Christmas Ale!

Today I had a lot of fun. First, we had breakfast with Randy and Lorraine. Nothing like getting up on a Sunday morning and piling the kids into the van to go have a hot cooked breakfast and a lazy Sunday morning.

In the afternoon, whilst Lynne and the girls stayed an played with Randy and Lorraine, I went to play with some grown up boys and brewed some beer (we also drank some beer). Yes I brewed a batch of beer today for the first time in almost three years. I enjoyed it a lot. I had help, Dave and Phil, two guys I have not known very long were there to help, add moral support, have some fun and help me with those beers.

We brewed a Christmas Ale, slightly late for the actual holiday but it will be just about ready for new year.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

H1N1 Shots

Anja, Isabel and myself received the vaccination against the H1N1 virus yesterday. We’ve all already received the seasonal flu shot and with Lynne having had the H1N1 shot a couple of weeks ago (she is a high priority case given her pregnancy), we’re all fully vaccinated for the year. Let’s hope it works now. Normally I would not have qualified but since we’ll be having a newborn in 2 weeks (in theory), our pediatrician recommended that I too get a shot!

I took this shot last week and liked how it turned out!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Paint Job

Today we painted the baby’s room. It was a very neutral yellow since the time before Anja was born (we did not know the sex for her), but as of today it's baby blue! The girls “helped” earlier in the morning before they had to leave to get their flu shot which then allowed myself and Lorraine to get on with the painting job. Both Lorraine and randy were a great help as always (Many Thanks again). Randy helped Lynne with the girls and then entertained them at the park for the entire morning followed by lunch whilst Lorraine obviously helped me painting!

The girls loved taking the paint brushes to the wall but that activity had a very short half-life. I think it looks great now and all ready for a tiny little baby boy (three weeks to go)!!

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New Email Address

Yesterday we switched from Verizon to Comcast as our telephone and internet service provider (ISP).  I'm still fuming so I cannot  detail why we moved from Verizon without being rude. market forces in don't like a service, you choose another!

Consistent with their level of service, they also deleted access my old email address (nice). Consequently, I have a new email address:

I'm loving comcast (for now anyhow). All seems to be working and we now enjoy over 20Mbs download and 4Mbs upload speeds as measured via speakeasy speedtest

Monday, November 09, 2009

Pregnancy Update - 4 Weeks to Go

I haven’t mentioned much over the last few months about our next baby. I’m a little superstitious by nature so I tend and try not to tempt fate in any way by being too celebratory or excited prior to the baby’s arrival. Totally irrational I know, but we’re all allowed our quirks! There will be plenty of time for excitement later!

That being said, we (the royal we) reached 36 weeks yesterday and with under 4 weeks until the official due date, we are starting to get excited. As you know, it really could be any day now. Lynne went two and one week over with Anja and Isabel, respectively but this time she is convinced that this baby will arrive on my birthday, Dec 2nd - we’ll have to see!

Not sure if everybody knows, but according to the scan that we had at 18 weeks, there was little doubt as to the sex. It’s a boy! Of course one is never sure until the moment of arrival but those reading the scan were pretty convinced!

Lynne is doing very well. Still eating and drinking all the right things and indeed not eating and drinking the wrong things. As she did with the first two, her dedication to the unborn’s nutritional needs is amazing! She’s also swimming and cycling a lot, exercising to ensure she has strength for the birth. She’s also pretty busy at work, probably as busy as she has ever been. She hasn’t slowed down one bit, despite two active kids and a husband who jetted off to China for a week! She is an incredible woman with immeasurable inner strength, resource and determination. She will also be a fantastic mother third time too.

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Saturday, November 07, 2009

Raking Leaves!

Raking leaves is both time consuming and tiring! I’m quite tired this evening since I spent about four hours raking leaves and generally tidying up the garden prior to the inevitable cold weather. It was such a beautiful day here; I hope you all are getting equally nice weather. It was a little windy today but with clear blue skies, sunshine and almost 70 degrees. Not bad for November!

The girls “helped” of course, that lasted about an hour! They loved playing in the leaves though!

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Carl's Retirement Party

We just returned from a retirement party. Carl Rew, a neighbor who lives just across from our house, retired this week from a long career at Purdue! We met many neighbors and his family of course who we have come to know reasonably well over the last few years! It was a lot of fun!

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Friday, November 06, 2009

Santa Claus 2009

Yesterday evening’s excitement was letter writing to Santa Claus! Yes, Anja and Isabel both put pen to paper and each wrote a letter to Santa. I took a scan of each letter before we placed them in the post. Anja stated that she was very good and that she would like a dinosaur, a pen, a calendar and some Barbie’s. Isabel wanted an Alligator! Shown below is Anja's letter, the addressing and posting (mailing).

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

New Toy - Canon EOS Rebel T1i

Today I bought a new toy. The flash on our old digital SLR was continually sticking so I brought it into Roberts in Indy to get it fixed. I started looking around and one thing led to another, as they do!! I went for an upgrade to our current camera and purchased the Canon EOS Rebel T1i. I just bought the body since my current lens will work just fine. The real selling point for me was the ability of this digital SLR to do video!! Well, that’s how I rationalized it anyhow!! I had a camera friend (geek) with me and he then convinced me to buy a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II for taking portraits!! Hook line and sinker!!

I played around with it a little this evening whilst the girls were taking a bath, see below, now I need to take a look at the manual!!

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Halloween 2009

It would be remiss of me not to mention our Halloween events on Saturday evening. Earlier in the evening we attended a neighborhood pizza party where we met with many friends and neighbors. It was a little chilly so we didn’t hang around much. We did a little trick or treating before meeting up with Emma, Matt and Adrian and then on to more candy gathering. The girls enjoyed it. They were a Dinosaur and an Alligator this year!

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Last Update from Shanghai

I got back very tired on Friday evening from Shanghai. One final item I wanted you to take a look at before I close the Chinese chapter. We deliberately took the Shanghai Meglev Train from the city center to the airport. It was very impressive. Maglev, or magnetic levitation, is a system of transportation that suspends, guides and propels vehicles, predominantly trains, using magnetic levitation from a very large number of magnets for lift and propulsion. We got up to just over 300 km/hr on our short journey

The picture below is of Isabel wearing a rather cute Chinese costume I brought back. Anja would not wear hers for some reason, not for some time anyhow!

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